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Economists See Europe as Main Threat to U.S. Growth

Wall Street Journal (01/12/12) Izzo, Phil

The uncertainty surrounding Europe remains the biggest risk to growth in the U.S., according to economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. Forty-eight of 50 economists surveyed say that the euro zone is in a recession now or that one is imminent, though the majority of those who predict a recession expect it to last less than a year. If the downturn in the euro zone proves to be deeper than currently forecast, the hit from exports alone could bring down forecasts for U.S. expansion in 2012.

“Through trade, a severe Europe recession could—directly and indirectly—take the U.S. economy under 2% growth,” says Allen Sinai of Decision Economics. That level would be below current forecasts for 2012, meaning slower job growth.