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The oracle of Redmond Bill Gates is back, predicting the US economy will suffer a "fairly significant recession" and unemployment will surpass nine per cent.

Bloomberg reports the Microsoft chairman-come-Windows-pitchman offered dreary divinations of American job rates to gathered alumni at the centennial celebration of the Harvard Business School in Boston.

Gates, awarded an honorary degree from Harvard in 2007 after dropping out in 1975, said a perception of a strong US economy had lead many investors to make unrealistic expectations of high returns when things were looking more rosy.

The US national employment rate of 6.1 per cent was unchanged in September, following a 0.4 per cent rise in August. That puts the total number of unemployed at approximately 9.5 million.

Gates is likely guilty of imprudent investments himself. The recent economic upheaval has damaged Gates' investments, ending his 15-year reign as America's richest person. The top honor now belongs to philanthropist Warren Buffett.

Before any readers re-stock their unused Y2k bunker, keep in mind Gates' track record of predictions include gems like declaring in that Spam email will be "solved" in two years time - back in 2004. Let worries be soothed by having several dozen Nigerian princes requesting up-front expenses to transfer millions of dollars to your bank account only a click away.®

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