Top Economist: Another Recession Possible in 2012

PHOTO: People in line at job fairJohn Moore/Getty Images
Job seekers wait in line to meet potential employers at the "Denver Hires Job Fair" in this Dec. 5, 2011 file photo in Denver.

There's a 40-percent chance the United States will slip into another recession in 2012, according to Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae, the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant.

"We don't think the economy is going to go into recession, but it wouldn't take too big of a trigger to tip it," Duncan told the San Diego Source newspaper.

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If we do fall into a double-dip recession, the main reason will be: Jobs, or lack thereof. The nation's unemployment rate remains roughly the same today as it was a year ago, Duncan said, which continues to be a drag on the economy.

"It's so dependent on unemployment," says Duncan. As a result of continued joblessness, "This is the weakest expansion since World War II," he says.

Christopher Maag's Reporter, Chris graduated with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and has reported for a number of publications including The New York Times, TIME magazine and Popular Mechanics.