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Economists: Recession is now

A downbeat report about the service sector of the economy spooked investors on Super Tuesday. Several economists say that report means we are in a recession. Super Tuesday was not so super on Wall Street, as shockingly bad economic news prompted investors to sell their stock. The Dow Jones Industrial average shed 370 points, its biggest point loss this year. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all plunged about three percent. Service sector executives surveyed by the institute for supply management say their companies' business activity is on the decline for the first time in five years. The service sector index suffered the largest month to month drop since ISM began measuring it more than ten years ago. Service industries -- which include retail, transportation, health care, finance, real estate and construction businesses -- comprise a much larger portion of the United States' economy than manufacturing and other industries. Some economists are saying the combination of the service reading and other recent economic news -- such as Friday's government report showing a net monthly loss in jobs -- proves a recession is under way. The national bureau of economic research provides the official word about when we're truly in a recession. But the private, non-partisan organization historically hasn't declared we're in a recession until well after it's already begun.

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