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Nearly two-thirds of Americans sense double-dip recession

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Roughly 63% of middle-class Americans surveyed by a consumer psychology consulting firm believe the U.S. economy slipped into a double-dip recession, up from 50% one year ago. First Command Financial Services commissioned Sentient Decision Science to survey roughly 1,000 U.S. consumers between the ages of 25 to 70 with annual household incomes of at least $50,000 for the quarterly First Command Financial Behaviors index. Three-quarters of those consumers who believe a double-dip recession is underway believe it will be more than one year before the economy begins to recover. One in five consumers said it would be take more than three years. "Americans aren’t looking for a meaningful recovery any time soon,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services. "The Index reveals a widespread belief that the U.S. has already experienced a recession and a short-lived recovery and is now experiencing a second recession. This conviction is being fueled by a host of pressing economic worries that do not come with quick resolutions, further intensifying consumer uncertainty and concern." Nearly 70% of the consumers called a double-dip recession believe high unemployment is the largest cause, followed by 55%, who pointed to the weak housing market. Less than 30% of those consumers believe tax hikes, government spending cuts or the expiration of the stimulus package caused a double-dip. "Half of middle-class Americans say they have embraced frugality as a way of life," Spiker said. "The silver lining to the economic turmoil has been a rediscovery of frugal living, a more conservative approach to personal finance that is helping families weather the current economic storm and commit to building a stronger financial future." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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