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Back in Business?

July 31st, 2003 - 1:02 pm

Yesterday Robert Samuelson argued that reading the economy is tough these days. But today looks like nothing but good news. Read:

US economic growth shot to an annual pace of 2.4 percent in the second quarter, shattering sluggish expectations.

Defying forecasts for growth closer to 1.5 percent, the US economy gave the clearest sign yet it is shaking off Iraq (news – web sites) war-inspired shock and gathering speed, with business investment finally back.

The return in business investment, a 52-year record surge in defense spending, robust consumer spending, and a red-hot housing market powered growth, early Commerce Department estimates showed.

“This is a very positive confirmation that the economy is turning the corner,” said BMO Financial Group economist Sal Guatieri.

For those still looking for work, this part might be the most important:

Businesses trimmed their inventories by 17.9 billion dollars in the period, eroding 0.77 percentage points from the overall economic growth pace, the data showed.

Smaller inventories and increased demand usually means industry will have to add more workers to the payrolls.

It’s a good news day, to be sure. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re out of the woods yet.