The economy has grown so fragile this year that missteps by the warring factions in Congress could tip it back into recession, economists warn.
An index of home prices in big metropolitan areas has reached its lowest level since 2002, driven down by foreclosures, a glut of unsold homes, and the reluctance or inability of many to buy.
Within the space of a week, the nation has witnessed worst performances on record of new-home sales, home prices and building — evidence that the housing market has sunk into a double-dip recession that poses a significant drag on the overall economy.
A lull in loan defaults this spring enabled the nation's banks to post their biggest quarterly industry profit in nearly three years, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported Tuesday.
The dramatic economic slowdown this summer has provoked an increasingly contentious debate among analysts, including an unusually public split among members of the Federal Reserve Board, over the U.S. economy's long-term outlook and the possibility of a Japan-like "lost decade."
The deep recession and widespread joblessness appear to have taught Americans an important lesson about living within their means and setting aside more money for economic emergencies.