Next month, next year, next decade? Americans are anxiously asking when the economic downturn with its job losses and bad news is going to end.
NewsHour Economics Correspondent Paul Solman visits various locations: the Tummy Tuck jeans factory, the largest scrap metal operation on the West Coast, and a convention of economists to ask when things will start looking up.
2009, 2010-he gets a wide range of answers, but one of the most pictaresque comes from standup economist Yoram Bauman who compares the economy to a hamster that's been running on a wheel for seven years.
"It's tired. So, as a microeconomist, I look at it, and I think that the hamster needs some rest. Macroeconomists look at the hamster and think that the hamster needs some methamphetamines."
"I think we will be lucky if we see a bottom and a beginning of an upturn by the end of 2009. But that doesn't mean that, in the spring of 2010, they will be as good as they were in 2007. We have got a -- a long climb ahead of us." - Martin Feldstein, Harvard University
"Keep in mind that, as rapidly as the fear gripped us, it can also lose its grip just as rapidly. The first quarter is a big negative, and then the economy improves." -
Ed Leamer, UCLA
"Consumers, I -- when I see people, you walk into a shopping center, and you see people walking with shopping bags with something in it, then I will tell you business is getting better." - George Rudes, CEO, Not Your Daughter's Jeans
1. When do you think the U.S. economy will start to improve?
2. How do economists make predictions about whether the economy will decline or improve?
1. Did this report make you feel better or worse about the economy? Why?
2. When you go to a shopping area, do you see people carrying shopping bags? Do you think this is a good indicator? Why or why not?
3. Follow up on this video with our lesson plan on looking for the bottom of the recession.