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Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014

Things are looking up in the economy, but not everything

Compiled by JJ Feinauer, Deseret News

Published: Thu, July 31 9:10 a.m. MDT

 In this Jan. 22, 2014, file photo, job seekers sign in before meeting prospective employers during a career fair at a hotel in Dallas. The U.S. economy finally regained the jobs lost during the Great Recession, but the comeback is far from complete.

In this Jan. 22, 2014, file photo, job seekers sign in before meeting prospective employers during a career fair at a hotel in Dallas. The U.S. economy finally regained the jobs lost during the Great Recession, but the comeback is far from complete.

(LM Otero, Associated Press)

News on the economy once again takes a positive turn, with the private research institute The Conference Board reporting that American consumer confidence has reached heights not seen since October 2007, roughly one year before what many consider to be the start of the Great Recession.

"Strong job growth helped boost consumers’ assessment of current conditions," Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board is quoted as saying on the company website. "Brighter short-term outlooks for the economy and jobs, and to a lesser extent personal income, drove the gain in expectations."

As Nina Glinski at Bloomberg points out, the gap between those who are pessimistic about the job market and those more optimistic is also the smallest it's been since May 2008.

Another economic indicator that is getting a lot of attention is an uptick in the nation's GDP.

"Spending on total goods accounted for its highest contribution to GDP since late 2010," The Wall Street Journal's Eric Morath and Nick Timiraos. As Morath and Timiraos explain, GDP "advanced at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.0 percent in the second quarter" of this year, reaching byond most economic predictions.

"Spending on long-lasting durable goods was near a five-year high, led by a big jump in auto sales," they reported.

But according to The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, positive adcvances in GDP growth and consumor confidence don't negate the fact that "lingering long-term unemployment, stagnant wages, and a housing recovery that is leaving many middle-income families behind" continue to be the norm.

Matt O'Brien at The Washington Post has also pointed out that things continue to look rough for the middle class. "It's all about stocks and houses. The middle class doesn't have much of the former, but it does have a lot of the latter. And that's bad news," he wrote on Tuesday. "Even though the crash decimated both, real estate hasn't come back nearly as much as equities have."

JJ Feinauer is a web producer for Moneywise and Opinion on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: jjfeinauer.

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