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Recession not over, public says

Economic experts may believe the recession is over, but try telling that to the public.

Seventy-four percent of Americans believe the economy is still in a recession, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. Only 25 percent think the downturn is over.

One-third of Americans say the recession is serious, while another 29 percent characterize it as moderate.

One small cause for optimism: the percentage of Americans who say the country is in a recession has dropped 13 points since August.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, an independent group of economists, released a September 20 statement indicating the recession technically ended in June 2009. The dip began in December 2007 — making it the longest and deepest downturn for the U.S. economy since the Great Depression.

Administration officials, while sounding guardedly optimistic about overall trends, have repeatedly expressed concern for those impacted by the sluggish economy.

“Obviously, for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay the bills day to day, [the recession is] still very real for them,” President Barack Obama said last week.

The public appears split over the effectiveness of Obama’s economic policies. Forty-seven percent of Americans believe the president’s policies either have helped boost the economy or will make it better in the future. Forty-eight percent believe Obama’s policies will never help improve the economy.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 21-23, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

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