The economy grew .6%, contrary to the perception that we are in a recession. See Economy Improves, Old Media Ignores. Some are saying that this represents the first time that we have had a recession while experiencing economic growth! Even though a recession MEANS subsequent quarters of no growth.
So is the economy stronger than the doomsayers have been saying it is? I suspect what we have is a paradox in a vast economy, with some sectors in bad shape–unfortunately, those that impact average Americans the most, with high prices for food and fuel and a loss of equity in home values–and other sectors doing quite well (such as oil companies and the farmers who are enjoying record prices).