FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
It's springtime and the signs of recovery are springing up everywhere... from the nation's ports to its malls, from the factories to car dealerships.
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One longshoreman on the docks in Portland, Oregon told the New York Times, "Things are looking up."
There may be something to what he says. Consumer spending - which makes up more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy - was up by four percent during the first quarter... more than double what was expected.
Americans are shopping again - buying furniture, cars and electronics. One retail analyst says on his weekly "mall check" he's seeing lots of women ages 25 to 45 shopping again... one sign of a recovery.
Last month, retail sales were up nine percent; and new home sales were up 27 percent.
But the question is: How strong will the recovery be? It appears that much of the improvement in the economy so far is a result of the $800 billion government stimulus program. Once that money is used up - it's not clear how much consumers will keep spending.
And, another looming factor is when the jobs will come back. Although March saw the biggest surge in hiring in over two years, the U.S. economy has lost about eight million jobs since the start of the recession and the national unemployment rate is still almost 10 percent.
A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 19 percent of those surveyed say the economy is starting to recover - that's up significantly from January.
46 percent say the economy has stabilized; and 34 percent say it's still in a downturn.
Statistics and poll numbers are one thing…your personal situation is another.
Here’s my question to you: Is your recession over?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Michelle in Warsaw, Indiana writes:
Mine is just getting into full swing. My unemployment benefits have run out. There are no jobs. Rent is over due. I will be cutting internet, cable...already cut my phone. Soon I will be homeless. I still love my country, but not to proud of what our government has done.
Yes, I was unemployed for over a year; a month ago I was offered four jobs. I took one, of course, but those other three have gone to other people, which to me indicates that things are looking up.
Sarah in North Carolina writes:
No. I'm still unemployed, can't find work anywhere. The over-50 population is going to continue to be extremely affected. The hires will be the 20-somethings.
Until I'm able to buy things I can't afford, then my recession will be over. Until then, I'll have to watch what I spend and plan ahead. That's not the American way I was taught.
I am underemployed, working part-time without health benefits from my job. However, I am making more per hour than many people working full time and am grateful. I am part of the statistic you cited (a woman, in the 25-40 age range) who signed a contract this past weekend to buy a car. However, I used up my life savings to do this since my 15-year-old car finally gave up on me. I am not in a personal "recession", but I have a lot of student debt and am forced to manage my money well.
Greg in Oregon writes:
Jack, I live 100 miles plus from that Portland dockworker you quoted and I find his enthusiasm remarkable. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Our state is nearly broke. Our resident truckers still sit idle and yet the docks are busy. I live in Deschutes County and the unemployment rate here is over 12%. I think our dockworker has been consuming water from the Willamette River.
David in Alexandria, Virginia writes:
85% over. Another 15% and my IRA will be back to where it was before we found our regulators asleep at the switch while Wall Street was stealing the switch.