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Wonks see recession ending; U.S. public sees it as less 'serious'

September 3, 2009 | 11:51 am

The wonks at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development see the global recession at an end.

The American public still believes the U.S. is in recession. Even so, people are less worried about the economy than they were in the spring, a new CNN poll shows.

From Reuters:

The global recession is coming to an end faster than thought a few months ago and may already be over, but recovery will rely on massive government spending and low interest rates for some time, the OECD said on Thursday.

The OECD issued forecasts showing a broad return to economic expansion in the third quarter of 2009.

It also said that while authorities needed to map out a strategy for withdrawal of fiscal and monetary stimulus once recovery was surer, now was no time to take economies off life support.

The recovery might prove a little stronger than previously predicted, OECD chief economist Jorgen Elmeskov told Reuters in an interview. "Compared with expectations a few months ago, we now have a recovery which ... may be coming a little earlier and it may be slightly stronger because financial conditions have improved more rapidly than we assumed a few months ago," Elmeskov said.

The 48-year-old OECD, based in Paris, was created to coordinate economic policies among its member nations.

Separately, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll of 1,010 Americans showed 87% believe the U.S. economy remains in recession. That was down slightly from 90% in a mid-May poll.

But the percentage of people who now call this a "serious" recession dropped to 36% in the latest poll (conducted Aug. 28-31) from 42% in mid-May.

The percentage who say it’s a "moderate" recession rose to 39% from 35% in mid-May.

Asked to name the most important issue facing the country, 41% said the economy -- but that was down from 51% in a late-June poll and 63% in a mid-March poll.

By contrast, healthcare was named the most important issue by 20%, up from 9% in the mid-March poll.

And even if Wall Street seems not to worry one iota about the ballooning federal budget deficit, 15% of respondents in the CNN poll named the deficit the nation’s most important issue, up from just 8% in mid-March.

-- Tom Petruno