BOSTON-The United States may be in a recession, but the economic slowdown can present opportunities for developers, speakers said at a session on surviving a down economy at the International Council of Shopping Centers New England conference, which concludes here today.

Though the country is not technically in a recession by the traditional definition (two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth), other standards such as a significant decrease in economic activity, job loss, flat production and decelerating sales and income growth result in indicate otherwise, said John W. Bitner, senior vice president and chief economist of Eastern Investment Advisors, Boston.

“Yes, we are in a recession,” Bitner, adding that “the consumer is the Achilles heel to this recession. … As the consumer goes, so goes the economy.”

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