New data brings signs that economic recovery is nearing

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Fresh signs emerged this week that the recession's grip might be letting up. For starters, manufacturing's slide is easing. Builders are stepping up spending on construction projects -- including homes. And consumers aren't cutting back as much as some had feared. "What looked like a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel is now starting to look like a beacon," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research. "We are no longer in the deep throes of recession. A recovery may be just a few months away."