Unless you are Lance Armstrong (or my son-in-law), as your bike slows down, balance becomes increasingly challenging. That's the picture of where our economy is now - its slowing and investors wonder whether we can stay up or fall back into recession.

As we begin a new year we naturally hope for a better one than the last. In fact, much of the economic news released this week supports our hopes. Today the government announced that the unemployment rate fell from 8.6% to 8.5% with the addition of 200,000 more jobs. The results were all the stronger given that the labor pool (those seeking work) did not shrink has it has in previous months. There was also strengthening indicated in manufacturing, factory orders, and the construction industry. These are promising trends, but will they endure?