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Bob Moon: The Federal Reserve has come out with its latest assessment of the country’s economic health. And as John Dimsdale reports, the current “Beige Book” report predicts some tough financial sledding this winter.
John Dimsdale: Mortgages and credit card rates are going up even though the Fed has been trying to lower borrowing costs. That’s because the subprime crisis has made banks afraid to lend. Bank of America economist Mickey Levy says that lack of lender confidence is robbing the Fed of its ability to stimulate the economy.
Mickey Levy: So, it suggests that the impact of the Fed easing is going to be elongated, this time. It’s not going to unfold right away.
So far, at least, the economy has yet to officially enter a recession. University of Maryland economist Peter Morici says the U.S. has lost jobs for seven straight months, and it’s going to start feeling like a recession.
Peter Morici: But it really isn’t important whether we go negative. If it just gets very low, like a half a percent each quarter, that’s going to be enough to make things hurt. People won’t be able to get jobs, they won’t be able to get a raise, they won’t be able to afford to buy a new television set or get that new home.
One bright spot: falling oil prices should ease inflation, allowing the Fed to keep interest rates low for a while.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.