Good news regarding economic growth

The recession-or-not question might be getting a little easier to answer.

Despite all sorts of grim data from various sectors and from a dozen or so states, the latest GDP numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show the U.S. economy growing at a decent clip — not a breathtaking one, but probably enough to keep us from slipping into recession right now.

This is very good news at a very good time: grim American numbers would have put more pressure on the already-stressful situation in Europe.

The advance estimate is that the economy grew in the 3rd quarter at a 2.5% annual rate. Here’s an updated graph from Calculated Risk:

Note the sheer depth of the decline in 2008, as well as the relatively sluggish recovery compared to other rebounds. Real (inflation-adjusted) GDP is finally above the pre-recession peak.