Goldman Sachs: 40% chance of new recession in 2012

Jan Hatzius, Goldman’s chief US economist, pegged recession [cnbc explains] chances at 40 percent and said the jobless rate is likely to surge to the mid-9 percent range in 2012.

While that still jibes with the firm’s forecast that a recession — or two consecutive quarters of negative growth — is not the most likely scenario, the warning signs flashed Tuesday underscore concerns about European debt contagion on an already fragile US economy.

“Ultimately, it’s a judgment call,” Hatzius said during a conference call. “We’re basically indicating that we think the risk is sizeable and elevated, especially given the already underway deterioration in the labor market, although it’s a gradual one. Historically, U.S. business cycles have been quite vulnerable to rising unemployment and deteriorating dynamics in the labor market.”