As we approach the New Year, we are clearly in different economic times. Bad recession news is giving way to encouraging recovery news. Consumer spending is up just a notch. The housing market is actually showing signs that it has a pulse. Ford is reporting profit. A leaner GM is making a comeback. Chrysler, now owned by Fiat, still can't find the on-switch to its business GPS. Yes, unemployment just hit 10.2%, the highest since April 1983, but with "run lean" as the mandate, this was expected. In fact, it would take explosive economic growth to drive down unemployment and that's just not on the horizon.