Business economists' recession fears have tripled since January, according to a survey of some members of the National Association of Business Economists. Thirty percent of the economists surveyed think the economy will shrink in the first half of this year, up from 10 percent in a January poll. Fully 70 percent say they are more pessimistic about the outlook for the year as a whole than they were three months ago.
The economists report tougher times at their own firms. Nearly two thirds said their companies paid more for materials in the first quarter of 2008. Thirty-nine percent reported their companies had trouble getting credit, hurting business, compared with 26 percent in January.