The U.S. recession formally ended in November 2001, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced last week, but what lies ahead is still a big question mark.

The organization stated that most data, including the gross domestic product of goods and services, showed that the economy started to recover towards the end of 2001 and has since risen to levels that it was at before the stated recession, the Financial Times reports. Investors are anticipating better times ahead, leading to higher stock prices and reducing bond yield risk spreads. In regards to valuations against earnings, many analysts see a bubble beginning to form.

In addition, the Commerce Department said new houses are being built at the highest rate since January and building permits for single-family homes at levels not seen since at least the 1960s. The Labor Department said new demand for unemployment benefits dropped off sharply last week, but remained at levels consistent with a diminishing job market.

U.S. factory output also grew at its fastest pace since the first month of the year, according to the Federal Reserve. In a separate survey, top corporate execs displayed greater optimism over the past quarter. However, the report indicated industrial output remained more than 25% below its estimated potential.

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