Ding dong, the recession (may be) dead

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Finding out economists are cautiously optimistic is way better than the drama we went through last fall when everyone was sure Wall Street would implode.

Though, it goes without saying that we have a long, long way to go before we'll be back on our materialistic consumer-driven high horses again. (And, do we really want to go back to greedy-ville anyway?)

The recession is ending and the economy is finally growing again. That's the message implicit in the Federal Reserve's latest survey of businesses around the country, which found economic activity stabilizing or improving in most regions.

Economists warn the expansion is fragile and will have staying power only if consumers start spending more money. Rising unemployment that keeps Americans cautions could make for a plodding recovery in the months ahead.

All but one of the Fed's 12 regions indicated economic activity either was "stable," showed "signs of stabilization" or had "firmed," according to the Fed's survey. The one exception was the St. Louis region, which reported the economic decline is "moderating."

Businesses in most Fed regions said they were "cautiously positive" about the economic road ahead. The survey, known as the Beige Book, does not include precise figures.

More from TIME Magazine.

Here's a look back at how we got here:


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