News

    US Economic Downturn Seen as Mild, Brief

    A Washington-based business group says the U.S. economy remains sluggish, but will likely avoid a major recession. VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

    The last two U.S. recessions, in the early 1990s and in 2001, saw quarters in which America's economy contracted, with inflation-adjusted gross domestic product registering negative growth rates. This year, the U.S. economy has flirted with recession, but has averted an actual contraction, logging a 0.6 percent growth rate in the first quarter.

    A panel of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics expects America's anemic economic growth to continue in the short term, expanding only 0.4 percent for the second quarter of this year. Lynn Reaser, an economist for Bank of America who heads NABE's economic forecasting committee, says the overall projection is for an economic downturn that is both mild and brief.

    "This is a very shallow downturn," said Reaser. "In fact, only slightly more than half of our [NABE] members believe it will ultimately be declared a recession. And, of those, the majority believe it will be over either this quarter or the next [one]."

    The NABE panel expects economic growth to pick up in the second half of the year, at a two percent annual growth rate. The U.S. unemployment rate is expected to continue to rise, but only modestly to 5.6 percent next year.

    The NABE panel points to some encouraging signs for the economy, including expanding U.S. exports and a narrowing U.S. trade deficit. The panel expects the U.S. dollar, which has fallen dramatically against the Euro and other major currencies, to stabilize and eventually strengthen.

    Worries about the U.S. economy began to escalate last year, prompted in large part by a rash of foreclosures among Americans with so-called "sub-prime" mortgages that were given to homebuyers with spotty credit histories. The sub-prime crisis provoked a broader credit crunch that has made it difficult for many businesses and consumers to secure loans, constraining economic activity and devastating the U.S. housing market.

    Turmoil in financial markets and higher energy prices are taking a toll on current growth, as well.

    Lynn Reaser says NABE economists believe the worst of the credit crunch is likely over.

    "What this survey suggests is that, perhaps, credit availability will actually improve in the second half of this year," said Reaser. "It is important because there have been concerns that all of the problems on Wall Street would crimp borrowing for businesses and consumers on Main Street [the broader economy]. It still will be a constraint going forward, but we think that credit markets will loose some of their tight grip as we move through the balance of 2008."

    The NABE forecast appears to be in line with other U.S. economic signals. Another group, the New York-based Conference Board, said that its index of leading economic indicators edged higher in April. The slight rise in the index, which is designed to forecast short-term economic performance, is seen as a sign of continued economic weakness, but does not foreshadow a drastic downturn.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora