What signs show the economic recovery is progressing?

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It is hard to prove that the economic recovery is “progressing” because there are many different ways to define economic progress.  People who do not like the President, for example, are likely to look at any data and argue that it does not show true progress or, at least, it does not show as much progress as it should.  However, if you want to say that our economic recovery is moving ahead, the best way to prove it is by looking at the two most typical measures of an economy’s economic health.  These measures are the unemployment rate and the rate of growth of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  In both cases, the trends have generally been positive, though they have not been uniformly so and it is possible to argue that different policies would have yielded better results.

One of the major indicators of the health of the economy is the unemployment rate.  This rate has steadily been going down since the worst of the economic crisis.  In October of 2009, the rate hit 10.0%.  It has been going down ever since and is now at 7.3%.  If you wish to argue that the economic recovery is progressing, this is a good statistic to use.

A second major indicator of an economy’s health is the growth in real GDP.  This measures the real (taking inflation into account) change in the amount that our country produces.  In late 2008 and early 2009, our real GDP actually dropped for four quarters in a row.  Since then, there has been only one quarter where we had negative GDP growth.  Growth for the most recent quarter was 2.5%.

It is easy to argue with these numbers and to say that they are not as good as they should be.  However, they are the numbers that are most likely to be cited as proof that our economic recovery is progressing.

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