A cautiously optimistic take on our bipolar economy

  @FortuneMagazine August 22, 2013: 9:20 AM ET
CAS02 economy
(Fortune)

For those of you returning to work after a summer break, here's an upbeat story about the U.S. economy. Five years after the great financial crisis of 2008, the housing market is recovering strongly, exports have just hit an all-time high, job growth looks decent, and the stock market is enjoying another strong year, reflecting a historic surge in corporate profits. Yippee! But wait a minute. Since spring 2012, the recovery has stumbled badly: GDP growth has averaged less than 1.5% on an annualized basis. Wages remain depressed. And as millions of Americans have dropped out of the labor force, the monthly jobs figures have been seriously distorted. The official unemployment rate is now 7.4%. But if you adjust the figures for the decline in the labor force participation rate, the real rate may be 10% or even higher.

Join the Conversation
CNNMoney Sponsors
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.