Shoppers turned up in surprising force at U.S. stores, auto dealers, restaurants and elsewhere in March, adding to a growing sense that the recovery could prove faster than anticipated.Combined with a rebounding service sector, rising financial markets and new efforts to forgive mortgage debts, March’s 1.6% surge in retail sales is tempting forecasters to upgrade their assessments of the economy’s ability to restore the 8.2 million U.S. jobs lost since the recession began.The renewed consumer and business activity also helped propel J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to a 55% profit gain in the first quarter, increasing optimism among investors that banks, too, are rebounding from the crisis that floored the industry."There’s a growing risk that we’re underestimating the strength of the recovery," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities, noting that deep recessions tend to be followed by steeper recoveries. "If the economy pops, it’s going to be faster than anyone is forecasting."
By Mark Whitehouse, April 14, 2010 WSJ

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04/14/10 WSJ