Warren Buffett tells CNBC that consumer sales by Berkshire Hathaway companies have remained "very, very soft" in recent weeks.
In a taped interview with our Julia Boorstin today (Thursday) at Herb Allen's Sun Valley media conference, Buffett says he'll know when things pick up because he gets constant "contemporaneous" updates on sales from his companies.
Buffett says the economy is in a very "tough period" right now.
While he doesn't know how long the economic "movie" will be, he knows that eventually it will have a "good ending." He continues to predict the U.S. economy will eventually rebound strongly over a period of years.
Buffett says one way to help the recession end more quickly is not to build any additional houses, because there are still too many on the market.
He does believe a second stimulus package may be needed, although he notes that the first stimulus package was "never designed to act fast." He also repeated his warning that all the "medicine" given to the economy, while necessary, will produce inflation as a long-term side effect.
While government has some influence on how fast the economy does recover, Buffett says Washington has less power than many might think and doesn't have a "silver bullet." Any stimulus package should not be seen as a "panacea."
He says he continues to support President Obama "100 percent."
Portions of the interview will be shown on CNBC's Fast Money tonight after 5p ET and the full conversation will be posted later this evening here on CNBC.com's Warren Buffett Watch. (UPDATE: Full transcript is now available.)
Julia is also planning a post for her Media Money blog on CNBC.com.