Is the economy growing? The short answer is “Yes”, but the long answer is “No”. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate for the first quarter of 2012 came in at 2.2% annualized, which is at least a positive number. The UK and Spain can’t claim that, falling into recessions for the second time since 2008. But this is nowhere near enough growth to create jobs and keep the forward momentum building at the end of 2011.
Some will blame rising gasoline prices and others will cite the sharp declines in government spending, especially at the state and local level. Still others will refer to ongoing investor unease and unwillingness to put money into new projects. But this is all speculation. What we do know is that job growth has led the recovery so far and probably will have to in the next quarter if this will turn around. And that’s exactly backwards from what you typically see in a recovery.