Good news! The U.S. economy is growing!

In typical "news reporter" style, the Associated Press is reporting that the United States economy is in dire straits. The Commerce Department reported that our economy grew only by 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2007. And that was lower than the prior quarter's growth of 4.9%. But guess what? It was still growth. And while it's not the level of growth that we want to see, and while it's lower than the growth we've experience in the past, it's not the end of the world. We are not in a recession (contrary to what you've heard) and our economy has not yet come to a grinding halt.

Consumer spending, which we're always hearing so much about was up too in the fourth quarter. It went up by 2.3%, which was slightly down from the 2.8% growth in consumer spending in the third quarter of 2007. But again, this is still growth and it doesn't indicate that we're in a recession or that or economy is about to collapse.

It is discouraging to constantly hear how poor our economy is, when the numbers don't really bear that out. Yes, there are sectors that are struggling and it would be nicer to have stronger economic numbers. But our government needs to back off and give the market some room to work. All the meddling by politicians hasn't seemed to really change things for us, and might even be doing more harm than good.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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