Is the economy improving?

G.I., the Economist’s Free Exchange blogger thinks so.  And, despite some recent bumps, he thinks things will continue to improve:

I think the most plausible explanation is that private-sector employment had begun a decent recovery earlier this year, then lost steam because of the European debt crisis, the BP oil spill, and the fading contribution of fiscal stimulus. Those restraints have begun to lift. Data on factory orders, retail sales and car sales suggest a modest rebound began in the last few months. Indeed, retail employment rose 28,000 in October. The odds favour a continuation of decent job growth, though not as briskly as in October. And hazards remain. Bank credit continues to contract, although more slowly than earlier this year. Political gridlock could trigger a premature shift to fiscal tightening. But for now, optimists should celebrate, and Mr Obama can rue the injustice of the economic data calendar.

You can read the full post here.