News

    Economic Recovery Elusive

    Multimedia

    U.S. stock prices have fluctuated wildly this week, falling sharply Monday, then rebounding Tuesday - only to open lower before climbing again on Wednesday.  Analysts say the price swings are likely to continue. Despite some positive earnings reports and signs of improving stability, some investors worry American consumers are not doing enough to lift the U.S. economy out of recession. 

    Stock prices continue to zigzag on Wall Street, as investors swing back and forth between optimism and despair.  Although experts say the U.S. economy is starting to stabilize, for some Americans, the world's largest economy often boils down to a price tag.

    Arianna may be too young to understand economics but she's learning a lot on this shopping trip with mom.

    The National Retail Federation says back to school sales are down nearly 8 percent - meaning, the average family will spend $46 less than they did last year.

    Economist Diane Swonk says that's one reason why investors are so worried. "We're still running at confidence levels that are consistent with the worst of the recessions of the early 1980's.  Consumer spending just isn't there," Swonk said.

    Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy.

    Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com says when consumer confidence declines, investors take notice. "For 25 years really, going back to the early 80s, the US consumer has powered growth here in the United States and really globally," Zandi says, "It's powered growth everywhere across the globe.  Consumers just aren't going to be able to do that going forward."

    Zandi says that's because many lower and middle income Americans feel insecure about their jobs and some are finding it harder to borrow.  Zandi says even higher income Americans are not feeling as wealthy as they used to.

    "So I think the US consumer will do their part, spend just enough that we get growth and ride a recession but I don't think the U.S. consumer can lead the way.  We're going to have to see consumers in the rest of the world, particularly in emerging economies step into that void and power the global economy," he said. 

    Complicating the recovery: unemployment and the housing crisis.  Nearly a quarter million jobs disappeared last month and home foreclosures are at record highs.  Even though, investment strategist Liz Ann Sonders says technically - the recession is over.

    "We've had three consecutive months of rising leading indicators.  That's an expansion signal for a lot of economists to say, recession is over.  We're now in recovery mode," Sonders states.

    But the crisis is far from over.  The Treasury Department says lending at U.S. banks that received bailout money declined for a fifth straight month.  And unemployment is expected to reach double digits by next year.  

    With the free-wheeling days of easy credit and unbridled spending now just a memory, economists say the recovery is likely to be slow and gradual.  That means the roller coaster on Wall Street continues.

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.