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Vast Majority Of Americans Wrongly Say Economy In Recession: Survey

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We may not technically be in a recession anymore, but the vast majority of Americans say they aren't feeling the recovery.

More than 75 percent of Americans say they think the economy is still in recession and nearly half say there's no improvement in their area, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted last week.

The National Bureau of Economic Research -- the body responsible for determining when business cycle events start and end -- said the recession was officially over in June 2009. But the new survey results suggest that the positive indicators used by economists to measure the recovery may not be painting a complete picture. In fact, the recovery has left many American households worse off. With no growth in household income and still facing a weak job market, an overwhelming majority of Americans are skeptical about the future.

Even employment gains must be taken with a grain of salt. Though the economy generated 1.2 million jobs in the last six months, the majority have been in low-paying industries like temporary work or retail, which may also explain why wage growth hasn't kept up with inflation.

In addition, last month's job increases were offset by the number of people who are no longer considered unemployed, not because they found employment, but instead because they have stopped looking for work altogether. So while the number of Americans who reported having a job dropped by 31,000, the unemployment rate also fell to 8.2 percent from 8.3, partly because the number of people searching for work also declined.

And while the stock market has experienced recent gains, they may be more indicative of a rebound for large businesses than ordinary Americans. Many of the jobs added by large companies since 2007 were outside the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports. Big companies have also parked much of their corporate treasuries outside the U.S.; Apple, for example, keeps two-thirds of $82 billion in profits overseas.

In addition, the boost in consumer spending may seem to indicate a recovery, but the pick up could be the result of Americans spending money they don't necessarily have. Americans accumulated $48 billion in credit card debt last year, which is 424 percent more than the debt that they incurred in 2010, according to a recent report.

Even more telling, median household income from the beginning of this year was reported as $50,020, 5.4 percent less than it was when the recovery began in June 2009.

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