America’s economic recovery may have begun in mid-2009, but it has hit repeated speed bumps. Some circumstances have been outside America’s control like rising oil prices and the European debt crisis. Some are from aftershocks of the recession – reduced lending, frigid housing markets, state and local governments cutting budgets. But things are starting to look up again. Loans to consumers have risen by 5% in the past year. Mortgage lending was still contracting as of late last year, and although home prices continue to decrease, construction and sales are rising. The end is in sight for state and local governments afflicted by falling revenues. Just four states are reporting mid-year budget gaps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That compares to 15 at this time last year and 36 the year before that.