Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Double-Dip Recession Anyone? Forty Percent of People Now Say 'Yes'

/PRNewswire/ -- The Wealth Hazards Worry Index now indicates that the number of people who believe that the U.S. economy could enter another recession in 2010 now stands at 40 percent. Another 32 percent of survey respondents are unsure if a "double-dip" recession is on tap for 2010, while only 28 percent of people are confident that no recession will occur in 2010.

"The government stimulus and support programs in 2009 were instrumental in holding the economy together so that the recovery process could get underway, the fragility of the recovery is now center stage," says Thomas Hertog, editor at Wealth Hazards. Respondents to the Wealth Hazards Worry Index survey cited continuing concerns about the expiration of government stimulus and support programs and how this might impact their own financial health.

Specifically, people are anxious about the high rate of unemployment, rising interest rates, price inflation, more foreclosures, and flat wages or even wage deflation as employers bargain hunt for new employees. In summary, 40 percent of people expect another recession-like downturn and nearly one-third of people are not sure if another recession is waiting just around the corner.

"Many people remain vigilant as they wait and see if the other shoe is going to drop in 2010," said Hertog, "the fatigue factor has set in and consumers want to know that their jobs are safe, their home values will not fall another 10%, and that folks in government are not going to choke-off the recovery by letting support programs end before they fully stimulate the economy."

For example, the Federal Reserve program to buy mortgage-backed securities has kept 30-year mortgage rates at all time lows, but an exit from this program or a hasty retreat that is poorly timed, could result in another real estate downturn. The new $174 billion Jobs for Main Street Act stimulus bill appears to be facing an uphill battle in Congress as the Obama administration tries to provide support to a struggling job market recovery. The hope that "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects would ease unemployment in construction and materials was shared by many in early 2009, but now nearly one year later the actual improvement is more difficult to measure. Bottom line, consumers are not completely convinced that the recovery is fully underway and that their own lives and financial health is about to improve. "Our new book, 'Wealth Hazards - Surviving the Recovery,' discusses the areas of personal finance that are most critical to address and provides many insights and tips to avoid, manage, and recover from life's wealth hazards," says Hertog. Wealth hazards come in all shapes and sizes and very often in disguise. The most important areas to watch include: investing, saving, credit, retirement, insurance, taxes, health and your career.

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