What if the recession never actually ended?
That's the gloomy picture Gluskin Sheff economist and former Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg painted in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. "If you don't believe in a double dip, it's because the first recession never ended," he said.
Rosenberg argued that the recent GDP rebound in the last two quarters was not a recovery at all, but temporary growth lead by rising inventories and government stimulus. The odds of a double-dip recession, he suggested, are "higher than 50-50."
Now, "the inventory cycle is behind us and the policy stimulus by and large has also peaked out," says Rosenberg.
Although the range of possible economic outcomes for the next few quarters is wider than he's ever seen in his career, Rosenberg isn't sure whether the all-important American consumer can carry the economy.
Here's more from Rosenberg:
"I don't see what the underpinnings are for the economy are. When I take right now a look at the numbers, we're looking at third quarter growth close to zero. It looks like second quarter is going to get revised from 2.4 down to as low as one or 1.5. I'm thinking flat for the third quarter -- I mean there's no growth in consumer spending and that's 70 percent of GDP ... This will be the big surprise: I think there is a significant chance in the fourth quarter that the economy could be contracting again."
Check out Rosenberg's full interview below: