The Atlantic has been looking out for green shoots for the last few weeks to offer an antidote to the pessimism about sticky unemployment and a hobbled housing market. You can catch up on the case for optimism here. In the meantime, let's listen to real economists talk about the glimmers of sunshine they're seeing. Our summation is in italics.
1. The top tier investor: Get past slow employment and housing data, and all the indicators are turning green.
"Once one looks past the employment numbers and the housing data, the whole world starts to look a whole lot brighter," he says. "A lower dollar helps that, but also demand from emerging markets and the rest of the world is driving manufacturing."
2. The bank economist: Spending is 70 percent of the economy and it's growing near 3 percent.
"[Real consumer spending] grew 2.8 percent in the third quarter, now it's tracking 2.9 percent by our estimates. When that 70 percent of the economy is growing at a solid pace, you need some shock to come along to disrupt everything."
3. The investment strategist: Slowing productivity plus high profit margins means companies are ready to expand, and stronger job growth and confidence will feed each other in 2011.
"Initially jobs don't show up in the recovery because we have a CEO culture that's focused initially on cost-cutting and productivity. But the good thing about that is when productivity slows down, then the jobs show up. Productivity growth slowed in the summer and is now on a slower trend.
"We're going to have job gains around 225,000 average monthly next year, and that means confidence is going to go up, consumer spending is going to go up, and corporations are going to say this looks sustainable."
Read the full story at Bloomberg Businessweek.