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Is the Recession Over?

Economists are deeply divided on the issue. Take our poll, and see what 'TheStreet' thinks.
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) -- Is the recession finally over?

Top economists differ on the issue. Some see no definitive end; others argue that we're already in the clear. Still others believe that not only is the recession not over yet, but a second one -- the dreaded "double dip" -- is sure to follow.

Members of the National Bureau of Economic Research, for one, in vetting an array of economic indicators at a meeting on April 8, decided to forego certifying a "trough date" for the recession that technically began in December of 2007. The trough date would identify the end of economic contraction and the beginning of economic expansion.

"Although most indicators have turned up, the committee decided that the determination of the trough date on the basis of current data would be premature," the group explained in a written statement.

Meanwhile, two leading professors recently sounded their opinion of where the economic recovery was headed during an appearance on CNBC -- and, as is the wont of the talking-head network, one was quite optimistic, the other much more pessimistic.

Professor Jeremy Siegel from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, the token bull, told viewers to just take a look at the employment data and judge for themselves. Siegel noted that household employment was up over one million in the last quarter. He added that consumption data has been "unbelievable" given that there's been a 3.5% increase in consumption with no stimulus in the last quarter.

Siegel also said that retail sales are accelerating from March to April, and declared that the recession "has ended, it is absolutely over. There's no

chance of a double dip.


On the other hand, another widely-respected professor, Yale University's Robert Shiller, declared himself to be worried about a

double dip

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. "We're in a situation where the government has supported a lot; it's withdrawing support; we have a too-big-to-fail problem; we have a national-debt problem; we have things weighing on our confidence," he countered.

Shiller said the biggest risk to a double dip is "a downturn in confidence. The confidence indexes have come up, but they're kind of wobbling around and they could go back down," he warned.

In light of all this, we ask you, users of


what do you think? Take the poll below, to see whether or not


thinks the recession is over.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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