The economy came as close as you could come to contracting in the second quarter of this year. But here's the real headline: it didn't.
Although it was up a meager two-tenths of a percent, it was still up. That's a big deal and here's why.
Because the economy in the present quarter is likely stronger than that quarter, which means we were not — and are not — in a recession.
Here me clearly: We are not in a recession.
Recessions happen when you have two back-to-back negative quarters. In other words, six months in a row of contracting numbers. We didn't then. We aren't now. And here's my prediction: we won't soon.
Some of you say, "Neil, it's a definition. Tell that to the people who've lost their jobs, or lost their savings, or lost all hope."
Fair enough. But let's also be accurate. And let's also get the whole picture right, not just some of it.
Let's also realize where there's been pain, there's been gain.
Housing is strong.
Auto sales are strong.
Retail sales in general are surprisingly strong.
Are they great? No. But are we great? Yes, I think we are.
Here's why. The good news that's not getting reported is more important, to me, than the bad news that is. Because it puts the bad stuff in perspective.
But you don't hear the good stuff, because it doesn't make a good story.
Big companies laying off workers — that's a good story. Small and medium size companies hiring workers — that's a bad story.
Journalists have the right to be the negative, cynical S.O.B.s that many are. They don't have the right to make their sick, sordid view of the world the depressing lead many swear it should be.
I will admit: Things are not great. But we shouldn't be so fast and loose with the facts that we miss this fact: We have stumbled, but we have not stopped.
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