News Roundup: The Economy Is Going Great! (Unless It Isn’t)

Is it time to feel better about the economy? The New York Times reports from Europe: 

Britain stunned economists with a 1.1 percent increase in its gross domestic product in the second quarter — almost twice the rate that had been expected, according to the Office for National Statistics. In Germany, business confidence rose in July to its highest level since reunification.

Worldwide recovery is on the way! Oh, wait:

What is still unclear is whether the figures illustrate just a temporary improvement in an economic environment that continues to struggle with lack of credit and the prospect of lower government spending, or whether they are a sign that investors and economists alike have been overly pessimistic about the strength of the economy. 

Any news in the restaurant business, Associated Press?

Net income climbed 12 percent at McDonald’s Corp. in the second quarter as customers around the globe gobbled up its cheap food and U.S. diners responded to its profitable frappes and other drinks on its hit McCafe menu.

Delicious! Yet dissatisfying:

Citi analyst Greg Badishkanian called the company’s performance ”fairly benign” and might be a disappointment after the company’s stock climbed more than 7 percent in the past two weeks as investors awaited Friday’s announcement.

And in the car trade, Detroit Free Press?

It’s nearly impossible to overstate how impressive Ford’s second-quarter performance was, or what an important signal it sends about the state of Michigan’s battered economy.

At midmorning Ford stock was trading around $12.50 a share, up 40 cents in early trading, after Ford blew the doors off of Wall Street’s profit expectations.

Well, that’s plain good news, no matter what. Or is it?

[O]verall U.S. and European automotive markets this year are weaker than anticipated. 

And how’s the airplane business, Los Angeles Times?

After one of the worst years ever for the aviation industry, airlines and aircraft leasing companies went on a buying spree, announcing orders worth nearly $30 billion, or more than three times last year’s tally at the Paris Air Show. The two premier aviation gatherings alternate each year.

The orders reflected the airline industry’s renewed confidence that air travel was coming back — albeit gradually — and buoyed prospects for thousands of suppliers in Southern California that make aircraft parts.

Fasten your seatbelts, we are now cleared for—

But many airlines have not recovered enough to buy new planes on their own. Larger, twin-aisle jetliners can cost more than $200 million each.

The biggest buyers at the show were aircraft leasing companies, which buy aircraft and rent them to airlines for a fixed time period.

So now even airplanes are contract freelancers in the gig economy . Can we at least get some good news and some bad news in the same sentence? How about it, New York Times?

New York City is gradually recovering from a deep but surprisingly short recession that ended in November, but its manufacturing industries are not pitching in by adding jobs, economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Thursday.

Moral: we have to be nice to Mort Zuckerman and his friends, after all.