Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

The economy: You’ve got to admit, it’s getting better

Commentary: 'Mountains of IOUs' debunk conspiracy theories of inflation

Gradually improving U.S. economic data and a Greek deal of some sort have relieved immediate financial fears, and so bond and mortgage rates have risen. The rate increase is proportional to the relief. Ten-year Treasury notes have moved from 1.92 percent to 2.02 percent, and mortgages from just under 4 percent to just under 4.125 percent, roughly like your kid's fever dropping from 105 to 104.5. However, the "kid" here (the U.S.) is in a lot better shape than the kid in Europe. The most reassuring news here is the uptrend in the small-business survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).Although its overall optimism is little better than the bottom of recessions going back 25 years, it has been improving each month since August, and only two months since 2007 have had better readings. The weakest internal component has been sales, but the worry about sales weakness is now fading fast. Another legitimate breakthrough: Weekly claims for unemplo...

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