The United States is headed for a recession that will be "much nastier, deeper and more protracted" than the 2001 recession, says Nouriel Roubini, president of Roubini Global Economics.
Writing on his blog Wednesday, Roubini repeated his call that the U.S. would be in recession in 2007, arguing that the collapse of housing would bring down the rest of the economy.
Roubini is a professor of economics at New York University and was a senior economist in the White House and the Treasury Department in the late 1990s. His firm focuses largely on global macroeconomics.
While many economists share Roubini's concerns about imbalances in the global economy and in the U.S. housing sector, he stands nearly alone in predicting a recession next year.
The guy up in the crow's nest stands alone too, but has the best view and sees what's ahead before the guys on deck.
Housing has accounted, directly and indirectly, for about 30% of employment growth during this expansion, including employment in retail and in manufacturing producing consumer goods, he said.
In the past year, consumers spent about $200 billion of the money they pulled out of their home equity, he estimated. Already, sales of consumer durables such as cars and furniture have weakened.
Consumers also face high energy prices, higher interest rates, stagnant wages, negative savings and high debt levels, he noted.
"This is the tipping point for the U.S. consumer and the effects will be ugly," he said. "Expect the great recession of 2007 to be much nastier, deeper and more protracted than the 2001 recession."
I hope he's wrong, but I'm afraid he may be right.