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The general picture for the US is improving. This is seen in job growth, expansion as reflected in PMIs and also some stabilization in housing.

Nevertheless, a highly regarded research center,  ECRI, insists on stating that a recession is already here.  Lakshman Achuthan finds slowing growth in industrial production and weakness in the US Coincident index as signs.

Achuthan says that his indicators for a recession aren’t “cherry picked”, but rather “hard facts. Here’s his recent interview on CNBC:

The Federal Reserve doesn’t talk about a recession, but Bernanke certainly isn’t happy with the current situation. He recently said that the recent NFP “understates the job market in the US.

He also looked at the worrying employment to population figure. European fears are one thing that could drag the US down, but so far, this isn’t evident.

Current fears of a recession in the US come from high oil prices. Americans are used to using their cars for almost anything. In addition, taxation on fuel is very low in the US, so any change in global prices strongly affects the pocket of the American consumer.

The issue of oil prices has reached the political debate in the US, in this election year.

For more about oil, see Trading NRG.