The chances of the US economy slipping into another recession have risen significantly and now stand at 30 percent, USA Today reported.
Citing its quarterly survey of 39 top economists, the newspaper said the chance of another downturn was now twice as high as three months ago.
That means another shock to the fragile economy -- such as more stock market declines or a worsening of the European debt crisis -- could push the nation over the edge, the report said.
Even if the United States avoids a recession, the economists see economic growth at a sluggish 2.5 percent next year, down from 3.1 percent in April's survey, the paper noted.
The economy must grow above three percent to significantly cut unemployment, USA Today said.
As a result, the economists predict the jobless rate will fall slowly, dipping only to 8.8 percent in the next 12 months, the report said.
In April, they estimated unemployment would be 8.2% by mid-2012, the paper pointed out.
"We'll continue on a path of pretty slow and disappointing growth, but probably there's not a decline into recession," USA Today quoted Robert Mellman, senior economist for JPMorgan Chase, as saying.