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Unemployment has doubled in a year, bringing it to 9.8% in September.   There are roughly six unemployed Americans for every job opening. Home foreclosure-related filings—including default notices, foreclosure auctions, and bank repossessions—are on pace to reach about 3.5 million this year, up from approximately 2.3 million last year.

Home prices are stabilizing, and sales of existing homes rose sharply in September, however much of the activity was spurred by the soon-to-expire federal tax credit for first-time home buyers. No wonder that 82% of Americans responding to an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted Oct. 15-18 say the recession isn’t over.

The worry is that if workers continue to lose their jobs and the ability to spend, the tentative recovery could morph into another downturn. In other words, while many economists are increasingly optimistic that a recovery is under way, some still warn that it could be W-shaped, meaning a second dip could be around the corner.

If U.S. gross domestic product rebounds as expected on Oct. 29 and turns positive for the first time in 15 months, it would confirm that the recession ended in the third quarter, at least statistically.

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