BOSTON (CBS) – The U.S. economy and Europe’s could slip into a second recession next year, the International Monetary Fund warned earlier this week.

But many business leaders in Boston say we’re already in one.

In the Boston Business Journal’s latest Business Pulse survey, the overwhelming majority – 84 percent – of respondents said they think the economy is in a recession. Out of 429 BBJ readers who responded to the question, “Are we in a recession?” just 16 percent said no.

The rest believe we are currently in a recession, with 42 percent calling the downturn “moderate”; 30 percent calling it “severe”; and 12 percent saying we are in a “mild” recession.

By the unofficial definition, recession doesn’t occur until two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

The U.S. economy may be perilously close to that – but, by the numbers, anyway, hasn’t fallen into negative territory yet.

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis <; , the real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the second quarter of 2011, and 0.4 percent in the first.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonprofit based in Cambridge, is responsible for calling recessions and recovery, using data provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Those calls often don’t come until much after the fact. The bureau’s latest report <; , out Tuesday, concluded that the past recession, which began in December 2007, ended after 18 months, making it the longest in U.S. history.

That means if the U.S. economy does enter a recession, it would be a double-dip.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday reduced its U.S. growth forecasts to 1.5 percent for 2011 and 1.8 percent for 2012, Reuters reported, and warned that without action, Europe’s debt crisis the slow U.S. recovery could send the two economies back into recession. That is, unless one of them is already in one.

Comments (3)
  1. baddomi says:

    maybe ma would not be in a resession if all the ebt holders were not swiping them for fast foods deliverys cigs lottery vacation

  2. sullyinma says:

    I wasn’t aware that we were out of the last recession.

  3. Mark says:

    I’ve got news for all of you this country has been going steadily down into a financial morass since 9/11. The outcome that Al-qaeda was after was to disrupt the financial integrity of the world economy not the destruction of the buildings. They succeeded beyond even their wildest expectations.

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