Companies are generating waves of jobs, and unemployment is down.
The same thing happened last year around this time. Then everything faded to black starting with the earthquake in Japan, which struck a year ago Sunday.
Does a happier ending await the job market this time? Economists seem to think so.
For reasons ranging from progress on Europe's debt crisis to a slowly improving housing market to slightly less gridlock in Congress, the economy and the job market appear better able to withstand setbacks than they were in 2011.
"The internal dynamics of the U.S. economy look pretty good right now," says Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Asset Management.