In January, the U.S. economy lost nearly 17,000 jobs, “the first time in nearly 4-1/2 years that U.S. payrolls shrank.” The report of January’s losses came just after President Bush triumphantly declared in his State of the Union that “America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months.”
Today, on Fox News Sunday, President Bush was asked about the shape of the economy and said that his “experts” are suggesting that the U.S. is not in a recession:
WALLACE: Mr. President, what are the chances that we’re either in a recession or headed for one?
BUSH: I think the experts will tell you we’re not in a recession, and they will tell you that there’s a lot of uncertainty. And therefore, the question is what do you do about it.
While Bush’s advisers may give him rosy assessments, Americans are feeling the effects of the economic slowdown. According to a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll, “sixty-one percent of the public believes the economy is now suffering through its first recession since 2001.”
A recent ABC poll reached similar conclusions. Sixty percent “think the economy’s already in a recession” while “two-thirds doubt that a government stimulus package will soften the blow.” In total, 81 percent said the economy is “in bad shape, the most since 1993.”
And many “experts” agree. According to a recent survey of economists by USA Today, more and more economists are predicting a recession:
Even Bush’s Fed Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is privately saying that the economic situation is much worse than the Bush administration is stating publicly.