WASHINGTON -- The American economy refuses to listen to all those doom-and-gloom proclamations, predicting we are marching headlong into a recession before the end of the year.
The professional pessimists who persistently peddle their predictions on the network news and business shows have been warning all year that the economy is headed toward the cliff. Many of them were at it again this week -- hoping against hope that their cataclysmic forecasts will come to pass.
Sunday's Washington Post began its lead story on the economy this way: "The economy is slowing, the dollar is falling. Wall Street is laying off workers. Defaults by homeowners are rising. Corporate buyouts have lost momentum."
A CNBC pundit was eagerly predicting that "we are heading into a recession" and that "it is going to happen soon." Wall Street was in a state of "denial," he said, as the Dow Jones sailed over 14,000, pulling the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq along with it.
In fact, Wall Street nowadays is almost wholly data-driven, and corporate earnings this year have been great, beating the gloomy forecasts. Stocks, beaten up by the sky-is-falling frenzy that has periodically hit the markets, have for the most part been following that data, and investors in all income groups have profited handsomely as a result.
No one doubts the economy is slowing, as housing sales lag and the days of easy credit to subprime borrowing has come to an end, but it is hard to see the $14 trillion-a-year economy plunging into a recession. The people who always see the glass as half empty, rather than half full, never mention the other vital statistics that suggest this economy continues to show signs of vitality, resilience and strength.
Last week's employment report was the latest sign that there's still life left in the U.S. economy, with 110,000 new jobs created in the month of September and a gain of 89,000 new jobs in August's payrolls, instead of an earlier estimate of 4,000 lost jobs.
This is the 49th consecutive month of job growth, "setting a new record for the longest uninterrupted expansion of the U.S. labor market," the White House said Friday.
Since August 2003, the economy has created more than 8.1 million new jobs. Unemployment nationally is running at a low 4.7 percent, which most economists consider full employment.
OK, the dollar has been down against other currencies, but aside from making imports costlier over here, it has also made our exports a lot cheaper -- and thus more competitive -- overseas. American products are selling to the tune of about $1.2 trillion a year.
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