Just over two-thirds of Americans believe the country is either already in recession or headed for one over the coming year, according to a new poll conducted jointly by The Wall Street Journal and NBC.

Nearly half the survey respondents, 46 percent, believed a recession was already under way.

The conviction comes despite a 3.4 percent rebound in economic growth during the second quarter, according to Commerce Department data released last week.

A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of declines in gross domestic product.

Turning points in the economy are notoriously difficult to predict. In 2001, many Wall Street and government forecasters waited until growth had already turned negative before acknowledging a period of contraction.

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