Indicators that point to an economy in recovery (and perhaps never quite in recession) pile up. Housing starts (new construction) have exceeded many economists' expectations. Last week brought a good sign for manufacturing: Orders for durable goods - big-ticket items expected to last two or more years - are up.
January's 2.6 percent uptick from December was larger than expected. Transportation-related orders, particularly for aircraft and parts, led the rise, but even excluding the transportation sector, durable-goods orders rose 1.3 percent for the month - the fourth consecutive monthly rise.