The U.S. Commerce Department released the third quarter economic growth numbers: "Real gross domestic product— the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States— increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011 (that is, from the second quarter to the third quarter) according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3 percent." So, is this good news?

On the upside, this is the fastest GDP has increased in a year. A Barclays economist told Bloomberg News, "While the first half numbers led many to fear something worse, we continue be in a moderate growth recovery. Despite the fears consumers are turning more cautious, their spending has actually slightly outpaced their income."

However, the growth is, according to the NY Times, "still paltry — not brisk enough to recover the ground lost in the economic bust, lower unemployment or even dispel fears of a second recession." Another economist told the Times that beggars can't be choosers, "It ain’t brilliant, but at least it’s heading in the right direction. want to see 4 percent, but given that people were talking about a new recession, I’ll take 2.5 or 3, thanks very much."