There's a lot of gloom out there. Probably a little too much. While the economy has its fair share of utterly awful problems, things aren't quite as bad as some make them out to be. Here are three things moving in the right direction.
1. Jobs are coming back
Honestly, they are:
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, author's calculations.
The jobs report for October showed the private sector added 159,000 jobs in the month. The numbers for the previous two months were also revised upward by a total of 110,000 jobs. This is a huge improvement compared with where we were a year ago.
Also, the four-week-moving average of initial unemployment claims is now the lowest it has been since September 2008, right at the beginning of the financial crisis.
2. Exports are booming
Don't get too bent out of shape about a falling dollar. Exports increased more than 16% in the third quarter over last year. Once details of more free-trade pacts are hammered out -- which have so far stumbled over every possible roadblock, to be sure -- look for that figure to climb anew.
President Obama set a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015. At this rate, we're well on our way. That's great news for companies like Intel
3. Corporate profits are on fire
Almost all companies' third-quarter earnings are now in the books, and the numbers were nothing short of spectacular. S&P 500 earnings for the quarter grew 31% from a year ago.
More importantly, revenue -- what everyone has been concerned about -- grew 7% year over year. In fact, revenue among S&P 500 companies is now at a record high. Record corporate profits, then, aren't just because companies are cutting costs (although that has been a huge help). Actual business is bouncing back, and companies are so lean that profits are supercharged.
Almost 60% of the S&P 500, including big names like Altria (NYSE: MO, Walgreen
So take that, recession.
Fool contributor Morgan Housel owns shares of Altria. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Ford is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. The Fool owns shares of Altria. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.