It is not exactly news, but some think this slowdown could be the worst in a generation.

BOCA RATON, Florida (Reuters) The United States is in a recession that could be "substantially more severe" than recent ones, National Bureau of Economic Research President Martin Feldstein said on Friday. "The situation is very bad, the situation is getting worse, and the risks are that it could get very bad," Feldstein said in a speech at the Futures Industry Association meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

"There's no doubt that this year and next year are going to be very difficult years." NBER is a private sector group that is considered the arbiter of U.S. business cycles. Feldstein is also a Harvard economics professor and former economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

Answering questions from the audience, Feldstein said the downturn could be the worst in the United States since World War Two. Feldstein said the federal funds rate, the Federal Reserve's benchmark lending rate, is headed down to 2 percent from the current 3 percent.