Economists: No Recession, Weakness to Remain

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The U.S. will have a weak economy but no recession in the next year, according to the forecast from an Associated Press survey of leading economists.

They say high unemployment and weak consumer spending will hold back the American economy into 2012.

Each day that the stock market sinks "puts another nail in the coffin of the recovery," said Beth Ann Bovino, senior economist at Standard & Poor's.

"I had been saying it was a half-speed recovery; now, it's a quarter-speed recovery," Bovino said.

Analysts are also concerned that Europe's debt crisis could hurt the global financial system. The ongoing crisis has led to a roughly 15 percent drop in stock prices in the past month.

There's also speculation about whether Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will unveil any new steps to help the economy at an annual economic conference to be held late this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

"The Fed can't do anything at this stage that's going to be meaningful," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc.

The Fed can influence interest rates, Shapiro noted, but "the level of interest rates is not the impediment to growth."

The economists do foresee economic growth, job creation, consumer spending and home prices all rising over the next year. But the gains they expect are so slight that many Americans won't notice.

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