Is America on the verge of a recession? Apparently not, since 104,000 jobs were created in August, and the months since have also seen an uptick in jobs. In early December, government said unemployment fell to a two- and-a-half-year low, to 8.6 percent. Black Friday and car sales were strong in November, while mortgage applications increased. Unemployment fell in November because the household survey, one of the methods used to calculate the unemployment rate, has lately shown stronger growth than the better-known payroll survey. Also, a number of people have left the labor force. There would have been a stronger recovery if not for oil prices spiking after the Arab Spring, Japan’s earthquake shaking world supplies, and Europe’s debt crisis—not to mention the threat of a U.S. government shutdown. Meanwhile, The New York Times’s Paul Krugman disagrees, and says we’re currently in a depression.