You know what the bad news is. We are bombarded with it from all sides. So today you will read the other side of the story, the good news. There will be no apology for this and no attempt to balance it out. If, after every paragraph, you feel better saying to yourself, But blah, blah, blah and you fill in the bad news for balance, that is all right too.   

You know what the bad news is. We are bombarded with it from all sides. So today you will read the other side of the story, the good news. There will be no apology for this and no attempt to balance it out. If, after every paragraph, you feel better saying to yourself, But blah, blah, blah and you fill in the bad news for balance, that is all right too.    

The Great Recession ended in June 2009 according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. That means simply that for the past 14 months, on the whole the economy has been getting better than worse, expanding and not contracting.

There is very little chance that we will fall backward into a double-dip recession. My favorite optimistic economist, Brian Wesbury, had predicted a growth rate of 4 percent for the 12 months ending June 2010. He is happy that those expecting only 2 percent were also wrong – it turned out to be 3! And growth is continuing.

The housing slump ended sometime in the past year. The glut of new and existing housing for sale is slowly dropping, and it is less than a year’s worth of inventory now. In August, existing home sales jumped by 7.6 percent to an annual rate of 4 million units. The average sale price also rose 0.8 percent in the past year, better than a continuing drop in value.

New housing starts grew by over 10 percent in August and for the first time since 2006, the total number of units under construction did not decline. So improvement for those in construction and its supporting services is coming. This also means that the promised larger tsunami of foreclosures nationwide is extremely unlikely and correspondingly, the number of banks and credit unions under pressure will subside rather than grow.

Consumers are progressively helping themselves. Despite reducing debt so much that monthly obligations have fallen below the 30-year average, consumer spending is up 2.5 percent due to real inflation-adjusted earnings having risen at a 4 percent growth rate. Meaning: if you have a job, you are doing pretty well and you are doing wise things with your income.

Part of the increased spending came from durable goods, and orders are up over 12 percent from a year ago. Business investment rose by 1.6 percent in August, and July’s figure was revised upward significantly. Electronics and industrial machinery sales have strong up-trends, overall a rate of 12.9 percent per year not including transportation.

Even the stock market is contributing positive results. Barring a meltdown in the next three days, September’s rise will apparently be the best in 70 years for that particular month. (For other reasons why the gains should not be a fluke, please read last week’s column.) Through Monday, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes had gained 7.96, 8.85 and 12.1 percent respectively. Each has had a so-called break-out above its August high point and can run up another 5 to 7 percent before hitting its April high (and therefore, resistance level).

Since the level of business activity all around the world is rising, companies are making a number of bullish decisions. These include increasing their dividend payouts, using some of their cash to buy back their own shares of stock at these lower than normal prices and issuance of new debt at low interest rates to finance growth. Perhaps the most bullish sign is the uptick in merger-and-acquisition transactions being announced.

I rest my case.