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Stephen Mihm

Think Recession Fears Are Overblown? You Need to Read This

Anyone who is certain about the meaning of Friday’s positive job numbers should consider similar certitudes from the 1970s. And maybe listen to real people.

Sign of the times. 

Sign of the times. 

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Friday’s positive jobs report  — which far exceeded expectations — would seem to suggest that recession fears have been a bit overblown. At the very least, it adds yet another contradictory data point to a baffling collection of economic indicators.

Perhaps this means the US may avoid a recession for the foreseeable future. But be careful reading too much into a single data dump. Turning points in the business cycle are often defined by perplexing, contradictory data that can take many months to resolve.