LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:
Another day, another piece of disappointing economic data. This week, housing numbers, unemployment claims and other economic indicators all came in worse than economists had predicted.
NPR's Tamara Keith has more.
TAMARA KEITH: It sure would be nice if economic recoveries moved in a straight line - up, up, up. But most of the time, that's not the way it works.
Ken Goldstein is an economist at The Conference Board.
Mr. KEN GOLDSTEIN (Economist, The Conference Board): The warning here, in a sense, is that what you see in August may not be much better come Christmastime.
KEITH: Goldstein says there's just not a lot of momentum. The jobs picture is bleak, consumer confidence is weak, spending is flat.
Mr. GOLDSTEIN: There's a technical economic term. It's called death by a thousand cuts.
KEITH: But William Rodgers, an economist at Rutgers, says this type of lull has happened before, in 1991 and 2001. But he worries about what could happen if too much bad economic news rolls in.
Professor WILLIAM RODGERS (Economist, Rutgers University): I think you could start to see Wall Street, and then, say, Main Street could really start to psychologically begin to prepare that, oh, we are, you know, going to move to a double dip.
KEITH: A double-dip recession, that is. But Rodgers and most economists still believe that doomsday scenario isn't likely. More likely: a long, slow slog to recovery.
Tamara Keith, NPR News, Washington.
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