The ups and downs of the economic recovery continues to capture headlines with sentiment swings stretching from overly positive a few months ago back to generally negative chatter. Numerous concerns remain, ranging from last month’s slowdown in hiring to more macro headwinds such as lingering weakness in for-sale housing, Europe’s recession, China’s slowdown, volatility in the Middle East and high energy prices. Further, the pace of GDP growth slowed from 3 percent to 2.2 percent during the first quarter, adding to worries that the economy may be losing momentum. Despite these impediments, generally strong readings on numerous U.S. economic vital signs counterbalance the negative forces. Record-setting corporate profits bode well for longer-term trends, while lending by banks has started to recover and retail sales maintained momentum through the first quarter. Although hiring has been modest by many standards, its broad-based scope demonstrates the breadth of the upturn. These trends reaffirm our position that though the recovery remains below-trend and less than exciting, it will remain persistent and endure the challenges ahead.