The economy is doing better than earlier indicators suggested, according to a survey from a trade group of purchasing managers. New data from the Institute for Supply Management says U.S. manufacturing grew during April at its fastest rate in 10 months and that sunny news helped the Dow Jones industrial average end at its highest level in four years.
But trying telling that to, well, anyone.
"If this is supposed to be an 'economic recovery' it sure is pathetic," writes the Economic Collapse blog. "Sadly, what we are experiencing right now is a brief period of stability in the middle of a downward spiral toward economic oblivion."
Holy doomspeak, Batman!
This article from Time Magazine is from June, but it outlines what it calls "five destructive myths" of economic recovery, including the myth that "this is a temporary blip and then it's full steam ahead" and that "the private sector will make it all better."
“There is a fundamental disconnect between the fortunes of American companies, which are doing quite well, and American workers, most of whom are earning a lower hourly wage now than they did during the recession. The thing is, companies make plenty of money; they just don't spend it on workers here,” writes Rana Foroohar.
Foroohar goes on. Tell me if this inspires confidence:
Half of Americans say they couldn't come up with $2,000 in 30 days without selling some of their possessions. Meanwhile, companies are flush: American firms generated $1.68 trillion in profit in the last quarter of 2010 alone. But many firms would think twice before putting their next factory or R&D center in the U.S. when they could put it in Brazil, China or India. These emerging-market nations are churning out 70 million new middle-class workers and consumers every year. That's one reason unemployment is high and wages are constrained here at home.
Those don't seem like things that will be changing any time soon.
Still, analysts say the report really is good news, with data that can be trusted, even if it doesn't mean everything is coming up roses once again.
"This survey will ease concerns that the softer tone of the incoming news in recent months marked the start of a renewed slowdown in growth," Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics wrote in a note to clients. "We think the latest recovery is made of sterner stuff, although we doubt it will set the world alight."
What do you think? Will the U.S. economy ever be the powerhouse it once was? What will it take to get us there?