I have been unfair to the economists in my last post. I found out over the weekend (source: Chaotics by Philip Kotler and John A. Caslione) that an economist did indeed confess that nobody knows what is going on.
When asked the same question [when would the recession end?] in October 2008, Gary Becker, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, said, "Nobody knows. I certainly don't know."
Though I suspect this is largely a response in frustration rather than acknowledgment of truth.