Washington It’s starting to feel like another recession.
Businesses are ordering fewer goods. Home sales are the slowest in decades. Jobs are scarce, and unemployment claims are rising. Perhaps most worrisome, manufacturing activity, which had been one of the economy’s few bright spots, is faltering.
“The odds of a double-dip are rising and uncomfortably high,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, referring to the possibility that the nation will tip back into recession. “Nothing else can go wrong. There is no cushion left.”
On Wednesday, the government offered the latest dose of grim news about the economic recovery: Companies cut back last month on their investments in equipment and machines. And Americans bought new homes at the weakest pace in nearly half a century.
Earlier this week came news that sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to the lowest level in 15 years.
Unemployment remains near double digits because job growth in the private sector has slowed.
The economy has grown for a full year now, and many experts believe the recession technically ended in July 2009. But the pace of expansion has slowed significantly in the past six months.
Economists are predicting the government will announce Friday that the economy grew from April to June even more slowly than previously thought, at an annual rate below 2 percent — weak for normal times and especially anemic right after a recession.
Other notable business news:
• Electric ‘Buckeye Bullet’ aims for speed record. A team of Ohio State University students that set out to build the fastest electric car on the planet is heading home with a broken clutch and a big grin. The Buckeye Bullet was clocked on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats at speeds averaging 307 mph, which could set a record if it is verified by the governing body of motorsports. The old record for an electric car was 246 mph.
• Apple’s 99-cent TV show idea no game-changer. Apple Inc.’s idea to offer episodes of hit shows for rental from the iTunes store a day after their broadcast may be great for people with busy lifestyles, and it could help Apple sell more iPhones and iPads, but only a few of the major media companies support the plan. That’s because the planned price of 99 cents is seen as a big revenue cut.