At the end of last year, the economy likely grew for the second straight quarter -- possibly at the fastest pace in nearly four years.
So the recession has ended, right? Yes, say most economists. But a panel of academics who officially decide such matters has offered a different response: silence.
That's despite signs that the economy, juiced by government aid, has begun to hum rather than sputter. On Friday, the government is likely to go further: it's expected to say growth accelerated from October through December.
The housing market, the collapse of which triggered the recession, is creeping back. Industrial production is up. Layoffs have slowed, though companies remain reluctant to hire.