Are we headed for a double-dip recession?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The recession is over...isn't it?

Last week, we found ourselves barraged with bad economic news.

Home sales are in a record-breaking free-fall. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. The nation's broadest measure of economic activity - gross domestic product numbers - are down sharply.

It's enough to give anyone the jitters.

So WBTV Business Reporter Melissa Hankins asked two of area's top economists the questions you need answered - Wells Fargo Chief Economist Jay Bryson, and popular Charlotte economist Tony Plath.

HANKINS: Jay, we were essentially barraged with bad economic news last week. A lot of national economists say right now they think we are headed towards a double dip recession. What's your take?

BRYSON: I don't think we're in a double dip, though I wouldn't say we think the economy's going to get good any time soon.

MELISSA: Tony, do you think we're heading back into the realm of recession?

PLATH: We are clearly sliding back toward a recession, the private sector is not creating enough jobs to offset a recession.

HANKINS: Jay, locally, it's unemployment that's killing us. We're so far behind the national average. Do you forsee any changes soon?

BRYSON: No, not dramatically.

HANKINS: And for many - that's the worst thing they can hear. On Friday, the Fed said it is preparing to take unprecedented measures to put the recovery back on track. Sounds familiar, Tony.

PLATH: We've already spent about $2 trillion dollars in federal money - another half a trillion or trillion probably won't make much of a difference.

HANKINS: Jay, What worries you? What keeps you up at night?

BRYSON: I guess the fact that the economy is very, very sluggish right now. And if we were to have some sort of bad shock, another terrorist attack, or oil prices going to a $150 a barrel, you name it, that's enough to put the economy back into a recession.

HAKINS: So, Tony, with realities like these...what can you do to protect yourself?

PLATH: Don't overspend your means. Don't take on additional debt in this kind of a market. Don't spend money you don't have.

HANKINS: Don't let down your guard, because we're not out of the woods yet.

PLATH: No, we're not.