Editor’s note: Dr. Harry Davis, an economist and professor of banking at Appalachian State University, is the economist for the He writes the “Business Barometer” for the NCBA.

RALEIGH, N.C. – The last noted that “this recovery will be different than those in recent memory and will not feel like a recovery for many households.” The most recent data confirms the unsettling truth of that statement.

After good numbers in the spring, most measures of economic performance turned south in June and July. Consumer confidence started falling in June after rising since February. The ISM Index, which is a measure of manufacturing activity, plunged in June after rising earlier in the year.

New home sales crashed in June and July to the lowest levels since the inception of the statistic. Consumer credit has been falling for 11 out of the last 12 months as consumers try to reduce their debt burdens. Consumers have now reduced consumer credit by $114 billion since the recession started.

The economy is only growing at an annualized rate of about 2-2.5 percent. That rate is not nearly fast enough to significantly improve the employment situation. The unemployment rate remains above 9% and the number of workers out of work for over 27 weeks is nearly 7 million. At the present monthly rate of private sector employment gains, it will take 7 years to regain the jobs lost in the “Great Recession”.

Banks continue to be criticized by the regulators, the President, The Treasury Secretary, and members of Congress for not lending money to businesses. Unfortunately, those doing the criticizing are part of the problem. The regulators have told banks they must raise their lending standards and raise their capital levels. Both actions make it more difficult for a bank to make a loan. The regulators report to the President and Congress.

The housing sector will not show any real life before next summer. The inventory of unsold homes is twice the historic level and rising. The inventory numbers cannot improve as long as foreclosures are rising and banks are unloading houses. Home sales cannot improve very much as long as the unemployment rate remains around 9 percent. The last 10 recoveries were all led by residential construction – not this time.

The anti-business rhetoric in Washington along with several other factors have hurt business confidence. Corporations are sitting on huge amounts of cash because they are not willing to invest in plant and equipment. Businesses of all sizes are concerned about future tax policy and are thus delaying the hiring of new workers.

The numbers are as bad as they will get and will improve from here. We should avoid a double-dip. Unfortunately, the economy continues to bounce along the bottom with little growth expected before next year.

North Carolina will experience an additional revenue shortfall in 2011. The stimulus money allowed states to push fiscal restraint into next year. Without stimulus funds next year, restraint will be required.

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