Economists' one nearly universal error over the last two years was the expectation that the economy was fragile, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
A larger-than-expected trade headwind (which should reverse over time) plus a meaningful hit to government spending will likely result in 1.0%-1.5% GDP growth in the fourth quarter.
Part of the so-called fiscal cliff was avoided, but the economy will still feel related headwinds in the first quarter, and more skirmishes loom.
While the market was fixated on the fiscal cliff, data on the real estate sector remained bullish this week.
More modest growth may go hand-in-hand with a longer, more durable recovery.
Given the increasing and undeniable strength in the economy, we need not worry if some tax increases and spending cuts are implemented.
The retail sales report for November shows that, as of last month, consumers were still not backing off making purchases, despite the fiscal cliff.
Despite worries about Hurricane Sandy, employment data showed more of the same boring growth.
Next week's employment report for November could show some significant effects from Sandy.
While 'fiscal cliff' rumors are driving the markets (both up and down), this week's real estate-related news was quite positive.
Below all the economic noise caused by Hurricane Sandy, the economy is still showing slow but steady improvement.
With large declines this week, markets were signaling that Congress must start solving the fiscal cliff--now.
Jobs grew on a steady pace in October but still stubbornly trail other indicators in the climb back to pre-recession levels.
The U.S. continues to have some unique factors that will help the domestic economy, if not its multinational corporations.
Though recent consensus estimates pegged third-quarter GDP at 1.6%, retail and auto strength suggest growth rates of closer to 2%.
Investors had plenty of time to worry about corporate earnings, including a string of earnings misses, and renewed concerns about Spain this week.
The economic news was uniformly positive this week and even included some respectable news from the battered manufacturing sector.
With the Fed's latest stimulus already on the books, this week's bad news was actually seen as bad news for a change, writes Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Worldwide central banks are driving the markets, but will fundamentals follow?
Housing starts had their second-best showing of the recovery, which bodes well for the months ahead, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
To put it nicely, the government's employment data for August was squirrelly, reports Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Three pieces of data this week suggested the May/June slowing in reported retail sales was indeed some type of statistical fluke.
Economists focused on the new minutes, but there are more important issues such as the housing market and consumer spending patterns, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson
A careful read of the data shows neither bust nor boom for consumer spending, but there may be more good news ahead.
The trade deficit numbers looked extremely good--but are they too good to be true?
The world is a little more stable and flexible than the short-term economic numbers, and the short-sighted media, might have you believe.
The housing sector continued to look up this week, while retail sales seemed remarkably soft.
The economy isn't booming, but recession-indicative metrics aren't in freefall, either.
Economic news could get worse in the short term, but the seeds of improvement have already been planted.
The trickle of good housing news has turned into a flood.
Can the U.S. prosper in a faltering world economy?
Given the already-low rates on long-term securities, it's doubtful the extended Twist program will have much more than a symbolic effect on rates.
The market is hoping for yet another round of monetary easing, but the economy--while sluggish--is not on the verge of collapse.
Morningstar director of economic analysis Bob Johnson addresses recent sluggishness in the economy and makes the case for better growth in the second half of the year.
Although data show the consumer has not given up the ghost, businesses are still cautious.
Absent a complete financial collapse, European slowing should have next to no impact on the U.S. economy.
Gas prices are falling, credit use is on the rise, and the trade deficit is looking more normal.
Despite the roller-coaster ride of recent months, the job market is on a slow but steady climb, writes Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Though the market wasn't thrilled with Friday's GDP report, there was a lot to like in the first-quarter numbers.
Don't let volatile monthly economic data points drive your outlook, writes Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Can the U.S. economy keep improving if the rest of the world slows down?
Investors have many good reasons to be fretful, but Friday's job report is not one of them.
As the economy continues slow but steady progress, government should step back and let it go on its way.
Even as consumption numbers seemed unreasonably and inexplicably strong in February, income numbers looked incredibly weak.
The U.S. economy will muddle through better than most, but consumer incomes and overall inflation should remain on the radar.
My thesis that a modestly slowing China is good news for the U.S. economy is going to be tested sooner rather than later.
The Fed won't be doling out cash after this week's upbeat economic data, though it did stop short of saying everything was rosy, according to Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
The steady employment growth during the last couple of months has Morningstar's Bob Johnson optimistic about where jobs will be within two years.
Drastically revised consumer income data suggest that the consumer was not quite as strapped for cash as we all feared in 2011.
The main question now is not if, but how fast the housing market will improve.