China's economy grew 8.9 percent last quarter, the slowest pace in 2.5 years, and on Monday Premier Wen Jiabao cut the nation's growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent, an eight-year low. Worries of a Chinese hard landing, defined as a sharp and sudden deceleration in growth, have gained momentum. However, China has been proactive in its efforts to prevent a hard landing. It has fine-tuned its policies to curb inflation, boost domestic consumption, and prevent a housing bubble. The Chinese government intervened heavily from 1989 to 1991 to cool its economy, causing real growth in gross domestic product to plunge to 4.1 percent in 1989, from 11.3 percent the previous year. It stepped in again in 1993. And some argue that this time around it's no different, and that the government knows exactly what it is doing. So we asked six top China analysts whether they saw a hard or soft landing scenario and what we should keep an eye on.
Though the unemployment rate dipped to 8.5 percent last month, it remains uncomfortably high for a president seeking reelection. Economists crunch the numbers to see if it's possible for unemployment to dip to 8 percent by Election Day.