I think it is until one of two things happens. Either the media beings to publish articles about how the market has bottomed out and it's a good time to
buy, or a majority of the population realizes what's going on and corrects itself. Something's got to happen eventually - which one is the question? I'm betting on the first choice; I never bet on the wisdom of the public (then again, why bet on the wisdom of the media?)
Here's my experience. I Am Not an Economist, simply a humble system administrator.
We're a printed circuit design bureau. Our work *stopped* nearly a month ago, for about two weeks. The designers tooks some well needed time off, finished up a few long term projects, and we tooka deep breath. About three weeks ago, ALL of our clients (and some new ones) started putting in orders for more work. We've got more work than we can handle, and are shopping it out to the other bureaus in the company.
The ops manager put it best when the work tapered off. All of the 'big companies' were laying off talent, shutting down production in a panic. Sooner rather than later, he claimed they would wake up and realize that they still needed to make money - and they made money by making stuff. Which requires that they spend a bit on the front end.
Corporate has officially told us to watch our spending - which means no new workstations for a few months, and I can't (yet) spend the bucks on that Sun Ultra 80 I have my eye on.
The bureau I work for was designed with a recession in mind. We could have easily staffed twice the number of staff than we have, but that would have required that we just lay them off when (as now) we go through an adjustment bobble. We're doing just fine, thank you, and it's hard to see what all of the fuss is about. It's true that we don't make as much money when times are a'booming, but we're better positioned for the long haul. The theory is that less turbulence equals more long term profit.
(We did pick up a major account who were disconcerted when their large design bureau closed up shop with little warning, and their project(s) already behind schedule).
On a side note - I went to order a Gateway Solo 9500 and was taken aback when I saw that Gateway has removed the option to purchase anything larger than a 15gb hard drive, and no more than 256k or RAM. Two weeks ago, both were valid options. The rep reported that you could still order them via a person, but it was like jumping through hoops, and he wasn't sure until he checked that the extra ram and larger hard drives were still available. More media driven psychosis?
Feed the poor, eat the rich!