CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Slowly, inch by inch, America's economy continues to rise in the aftermath of the painful Great Recession that struck in late 2007. Encouraging reports keep emerging:
A greater-than-expected 163,000 new jobs were created in July, raising this year's total above 1 million. More than 4 million have been added during the past 30 months.
A Fox News poll found that 57 percent of Americans now feel "hopeful" about the country's direction, compared to a mere 33 percent a year ago.
Corporate profits have soared 45 percent since the depth of the slump in 2009. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which sank to a dismal 6500 back then, has doubled to above 13000. That's a clear indicator of the economy's direction.
Money magazine editor Paul Lim says the housing market has reversed its slide, with average prices 2.5 percent higher in June than a year ago.
The Wall Street Journal says rebounding home construction has caused an upsurge of timber sales and jobs in California. West Virginia, with its superb hardwood forests, likewise should benefit from this trend.
Thank heaven, the long misery is healing.
The worst downturn since the Great Depression was caused chiefly by Wall Street greed -- the peddling of flimsy "derivatives" of bundled subprime mortgages. The mess occurred because conservatives in Congress had removed most controls over the securities market. When the bubble burst, it dragged down much of the U.S. economy and hurt foreign nations as well.
In the wake of the calamity, President Obama's stimulus spending saved millions of jobs, but not enough to offset all the historic losses. Without the stimulus, the outcome would have been unthinkable.
Overriding Republican protests, Democrats in Congress mandated stronger policing of Wall Street sharpies. Hurrah.
Some economists conclude that the Great Recession caused many employers to learn to operate with fewer workers, relying on better computer systems, robotics and electronic devices -- so workplace patterns may never quite return to previous norms.
Nonetheless, after this difficult period, it's heartening to see the economy steadily rising from the worst time within memory of Americans, except the few old enough to remember the Depression.