Economy Growing, But Americans Aren't Buying It

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A new government report shows that the nation's gross domestic product grew by 3.5 percent in the third quarter -- the best in two years.

That number beat expectations and has some financial analysts saying the recession is over
  
The economic news sent the Dow Jones soaring 200 points Thursday, the biggest daily gain in more than three months. That had some in the White House real close to declaring the recession is over.

"Nine months ago the question was whether the recession would become depression," Lawrence Summers, chairman of the National Economic Council, said. "Today the question is just exactly what date the recession ended.

The numbers point to economic recovery.

"These improvements are the direct result of the tax cuts and investments that were part of the recovery act," U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said.

Geithner linked the 3.5 percent GDP growth to massive government programs. The "Cash for Clunkers" program boosted cars more than 22 percent. And an $8,000 first time home buyers credit increased home sales more than 23 percent, while the stimulus package poured $800 billion into the economy.

"I think the U.S. economy is out of recession," Standard & Poors Chief Economist David Wyss said. "I still want to see some positive employment numbers though. That's what really counts for people.

But according to a recent ABC News/Washington post poll, 82 percent of Americans say the recession isn't over. People, like Maryland asphalt worker Nabalo Torbit, who isn't among the country's unemployed.

"You never know. They might lay you off today or tomorrow," Torbit said.

It's a clear sign that while numbers are rising in Washington and on Wall street, consumer confidence and consumer spending are still flat - a point not lost on the president.

"The benchmark I use to measure the strength of our economy is not just whether our GDP is growing, but whether we are creating jobs, whether families are having an easier time paying their bills, whether our businesses are hiring and doing well," Obama said.

Now, all eyes are watching to see if this growth is sustained...and when numbers on Wall Street will mean jobs on Main Street.

 

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