The Economic Planning Agency on Thursday left intact for the third straight month its view that the economy is gradually moving toward a self-sustaining recovery.

“There are movements, mainly in the corporate sector, gradually growing toward autonomous recovery,” the agency says in its September report.

The words are the same ones it used in its August report.

The EPA, however, downgraded its assessment of corporate capital investment, citing the 3.3 percent decline in the April-June period compared with the previous quarter, that was shown in the gross domestic product data released Monday.

Severe unemployment, flat personal consumption, high levels of business failures and stagnant stock prices also remain worrisome factors, an agency official said.

In contrast, the agency upgraded its assessment of corporate earnings in view of bright business sentiment in the April-June quarter. “Corporate profits continue to improve markedly,” the report says.

With regard to the jobs picture, the report says the employment situation “remains severe.” This assessment partly reflects the low bonus payments made by small and midsize companies this summer, the official said.

The hot summer temperatures boosted sales of air conditioners by as much as 49.1 percent in July, but personal consumption seems to be stable overall, and the outlook for the category remains uncertain, the official said.

The impact of the July 12 collapse of the department store chain Sogo Co. meanwhile pushed up the gross debt of failed firms in July, the latest date for which figures are available, to more than triple the level of a year earlier, while stagnant stock prices are eroding asset values, the official said.

The agency last upgraded its overall assessment of the economy in May and June.

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