The Labor Department released encouraging numbers last week highlighting increases in productivity and job creation, but the news coming out of Washington wasn't all good.
Though the numbers were a welcomed change compared to last year's figures, we're still not out of the woods, according to some experts.
Highlighted by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's warning about national deficits and American indebtedness on Thursday, economists also share some of Greenspan's apprehension about celebrating economic recovery too early.
"There are several reasons why the economy isn't in as good a shape as it was in the early '90s," Don Alexander, an economist with CitiGroup said. "One reason is that consumers are more in debt than before, leaving them with less money to spend in the economy. Another is that companies are playing it much safer than in the past, which is slowing growth. They have the capital to hire new workers, they're just playing it safe, for now."
According to Alexander, the national debt to income ratio is now at 116%, as compared to 86% in 1994. There are also other reasons for the lag in economic revival.
"The recovery we've been going through has been described as a jobless recovery," William Goodman, a social science research analyst for the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. "Like in the '90s, we've been waiting a long time for this recovery, so it's taking a little while to take hold."
But economists also advise that the signs are there, and the turnaround is gaining momentum.
"April, in particular, was the first month in a while that we've seen a substantial increase in the creation of quality jobs," Brian Jones, also an economist at CitiGroup said. "For the first time in a while we've seen small businesses creating quality jobs; which is great for growth."
Jones also points to the fact that 64% of all sectors reported growth in the first quarter, showing that growth is spilling over into most areas of the economy and may be a sign of clear sailing for economic growth in the future.
"The job increases are a good sign -- a really good sign. You can look at our economy like an ocean liner; once it gets going, up or down, it's really hard to stop."
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