Rating the rebound

Most economists now agree the economy is growing. But the slap on this recovery thus far is that it has been lackluster. Are the latest numbers consistent with that view point? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“They are, and that’s the main message I give to various groups that I speak to about the economy.  When you compare the current economic recovery to the average of recoveries for the last 30 years, it does appear to be somewhat lackluster.

For example, if you look at growth and gross domestic product — the broadest measure of our economy — you look at growth in employment, consumer spending; all have been improving but improving at a much slower rate than our previous recoveries. Even government spending — now this may surprise a lot of people — even government spending has been rising much slower than government spending has been rising in previous recoveries. Now, specifically for government spending — we’re talking about spending on buying goods and services like building roads, military hardware, education, etcetera.

There is one area where the rebound in the economy has been better than in recent recoveries, and that’s been for corporate profits. Corporate profits are way up on a percentage base. Now, part of the reason is they went way down during the recession, but I think that is obviously tied into the stock market boom. But I think the best news — the best news for most people — is that there is, indeed, an economic recovery.”

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