unemployedEconomists may say the most recent recession ended about 16 months ago, but most people aren't buying it.

About three out of four Americans say the U.S. is still in a recession, with Republicans and women slightly more pessimistic about the U.S. economy than Democrats and men, according to a recent AOL/Poll Position survey.

About 81% percent of Republicans believe the U.S. remains mired in economic stagnancy, compared to about 60% of Democrats, according to a survey of almost 1,100 U.S. adults conducted on Oct. 26. Additionally, about four out of five women say the recession isn't over, compared to about 70% of men, reflecting the predominance of women making decisions about household spending.

Among ethnic groups, Latinos appear to be most pessimistic about the economy, with 90% saying the U.S. remains in a recession.

The poll reflects an economic landscape where consumers are feeling less confident even as overall spending is on the rise. Consumer sentiment fell slightly in October from September and is at its lowest level in 11 months, despite the fact that the economy grew at a 2% clip during the third quarter.

"The growing disparity of income among the very rich and the rest of us is having a more destructive impact on the economy," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the Washington-based National Consumers League. "That's undermining basic levels of optimism people used to have about bettering their economic situation."

The key culprits may be an unemployment rate that's not budging and housing sales that remain substantially below last year's levels.

While U.S. existing home sales rose 10% between August and September, they were still 19% lower than a year earlier, while the median sales price was down about 2% from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors said on Oct. 25. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun characterized the pending recovery from the most recent housing crisis as "choppy."

"Much of the consumption of the last decade was driven by consumers who took wealth out of their bubble-driven home prices, and its entirely expected that consumer spending will not have recovered in the wake of that collapse," said George Peng, vice president at corporate and venture advisory firm Stepping Stone Capital Partners, and a Democrat. "You add in health care costs increasing rapidly, as well as world commodity prices starting to move, and its once again unsurprising that people are feeling the pinch."

Meanwhile, the economy lost 95,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate, which remained at 9.6%, has been at least 9.5% for 14 months, the longest such stretch since the 1930s, according to Labor Department statistics.

"From a technical economic perspective, the recession is over," said David Shulman, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast. "From the point of view of Main Street, it won't be over until the economy is generating 250,000 jobs a month on a consistent basis.

A recession is defined as a time period when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) falls for at least two consecutive quarters, and is generally accompanied by rising unemployment, a drop in the stock market or a housing-market decline. The National Bureau of Economic Research said last month that the recession, whose start date was pegged at December 2007, ended in June 2009.

More than a year later, though, economic signals appear mixed at best. GDP grew 2% during the third quarter, in line with economists' expectations, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. And consumer spending increased at a 2.6% annual pace in the quarter -- its fastest pace since the fourth quarter of 2006, and up from 2.2% in the second quarter.

Still, consumer sentiment fell slightly in October and is at its lowest level in 11 months, Bloomberg News said in its own survey on Friday.

"The economy certainly isn't as healthy as it needs to be," said Greenberg. "I'm not qualified to say if we're still in a recession, but perception plays a big role."


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highgross14

Def not over! We need loans again! and Jobs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t4rzPBcKRo

November 02 2010 at 3:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mattbibledotcom

Of course it's not over. When way more than the figure of 9.5% of Americans are not actually working, in addition, many more jobs pay $10/hr or below, while inflation is skyrocketing, how would anyone think we are doing well? There needs to be a major change in this country. Both parties need to stop bickering with each other and work on digging America out of the dirt. I just graduated from college, got laid off from two jobs, could not find work, so I just started my own endeavors.

November 02 2010 at 1:30 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
poorhows

i'm out here in the land of moonbeam's (jerry moonbeam brown) unions and they have literally turned the American dream, in California, into a government job. So to the rest of the states I apologize in advance when California defaults and will be put into receivership by the also broke federal government. obama's new slogan will be YES WE CAN'T, YES WE CAN'T, YES WE CAN'T. Just think of it. boxer, moonbeam and obama.

November 02 2010 at 12:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
L. W

its turning around ge is ordering ten thousand electric cars for its company it depends on what part of the country you are in also.

November 01 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bluejay0911

Unemployment holding at 9.5%/9.6% is a clear indicator the recession is not over. Those numbers are fudged and don't reflect those who are no longer receiving unemployment checks and those that have just given up. Employers are cutting medical benefits, people are paying much higher out of pocket expenses and being denied tests from the insurance companies. There has not been a COLA in a couple of years for the seniors. Gas prices are skyrocketing, heating oil is very high and forget about our deficit. Bridge and mass transit costs have gone up AGAIN. Everything and anything is being taxed. The politicans are spending our money, demanding more in taxes to fuel their lust and love of spending OUR money. People have certainly become financially cautious, yet the politicians continue to spend OUR money and have not used any financial restraint, only have dug us in a deeper hole. So yes.....we are still in a recession and no doubt need a CHANGE from the promised CHANGE! Any change is better than what we've had! We need politicians that have a love of this country, will not be influenced by peer pressure and are not CORRUPT!! Is this possible?

November 01 2010 at 7:24 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

We need affirmative action for people 40 and over so they may be given priorty in hiring preventing the displacement by cheap young foreign nationals imported into this country

November 01 2010 at 4:45 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Few have gotten compensation with out first destoying the system that caused their misery ie The British Redcoats in the Revolutionary war and the racist status quo in the 1967 riots.

November 01 2010 at 4:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

The damage done to the SSI accounts of people in their 50's is severe. Credit and employment gaps have been made more devastating. The lives and futures of those left unemployed in their elder years are in ruin an this is unforgivable!

November 01 2010 at 4:20 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

The damage done to the SSI accounts of people in their 50's is severe. Credit and employment gaps have been made more devastating. The lives and futures of those left unemployed in their elder years are in ruin an this is unforgivable!

November 01 2010 at 4:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Dave

How would the gov't know whether or not the recession is over??? It doesn't normally affect the super rich, which they are. It affects the shmoos of the world, us, and we say it ain't over by any stretch. Look at housing, jobs, small business all in trouble. What a sham that is going on in Washington. Vote tomorrow, vote often....

November 01 2010 at 3:57 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply