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The State of the Economy

Pete Springer/OPB

According to the New York Times, polls show that the economy is now Americans’ top concern. Not so coincidentally, the White House and the House of Representatives agreed on an economic stimulus package last Thursday that would send checks of up to $600 to individuals who earned less than $75,000 last year. The last time the government issued tax rebates like this was June 2001, when people received up to $300. Before that, you have to go back to 1975 to find a similar rebate.

So what, on the eve of President Bush’s last State of the Union, does this mean for us? Economists seem to have more questions than answers. Will people spend their refund checks or save them? (What will you do?) Will there be a recession or is it just a temporary downturn? And closer to home: What does the country’s economic forecast mean for the northwest?

And to get really close to home, if the definition of a recession (with thanks to Wikipedia) — “a decline in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive quarters of a year” — seems far removed from your daily life, what’s your measure of the state of the economy?




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