Keeping The Pedal to the Metal

Economists ponder how the economy continues to hum along

Like a champion motorcycle racer, the U.S. economy has managed to keep going under the toughest of conditions. Now in its 65th month, the current period of growth is the longest peacetime expansion in U.S. history. By contrast, the typical expansion of the post-World War II era has lasted 24 to 45 months. Only during the 1960s, when Viet Nam War spending spurred the economy, did a growth cycle last longer -- 106 months -- than the current one has.

The surprise about the present expansion has been its ability to survive one hazard after another. Even the worst stock-market crash...

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