A rise in first quarter profits by companies that do everything from making appliances to selling cruises provides emphatic new evidence that the economy has moved past the crisis.
Analysts say the strong first-quarter profits aren't because of the layoffs many of them used to dress up last year's earnings reports but because people are spending more.
Companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index have reported 76 percent higher operating earnings than a year ago -- on pace to be the biggest year-over-year increase ever.
Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank says it's "legitimate growth" and concludes the country is "out of the woods for good."
The turnaround has yet to produce a dramatic increase in hiring, which isn't expected until 2011 or later.
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