OUTLOOK: Moving up, but slowly

Traditionally, the period of transition from recession to recovery is a time of economic confusion. Last week a large batch of statistics, resembling so many fingers pointing in opposite directions, clearly mirrored that unsettled condition. Generally the figures fit the picture of an economy finally poised to climb out of its deepest slump in almost four decades, but they also point to a relatively slow recovery.

The grimmest news was that the unemployment rate climbed from 8.9% in April to 9.2% in May, yet another new high since 1941. That meant 8.5 million Americans were out of work, a jump of...

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