When the Federal Reserve sits down for its meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, board members are likely to confront a pretty gloomy situation: persistent unemployment, the worst housing market since the Great Depression and worsening consumer sentiment.
Little wonder, nearly half of all Americans think another recession is coming, according to the latest NBC News/WSJ poll.
Last week Goldman Sachs cut its forecast for U.S. GDP growthin 2011 from 3 percent to just 2 percent. The IMF has also cut its forecast for growth to 2.5 percent from 2.8 earlier.
In recent statements, the Federal Reserve seems to be holding to its forecast for economic growth, believing the current soft-patch is temporary. In April, the Fed said it expected the economy to grow between 3.1 and 3.3 percent this year. That's pretty bullish, given recent indications.
A Reuters poll of economists puts second-quarter GDP growth at 2.5 percent, following a first-quarter growth of 1.8 percent on an annualized basis. That would mean the economy would have to grow a little over 4 percent in the second half of 2011 to meet the Fed's target.
Do you believe that's likely? We want to know what you think.