Of course, everything in Europe is relative these days, and the region still has a perilously long way to go reach full health.
While Fitch noted that Greece's unemployment problem seems to have stabilized, it remains at a staggering 27 percent. GDP is improving but remains negative at 3 percent after registering a minus-5.6 percent in the first quarter.
The story is the same elsewhere. Spain briefly saw its Purchasing Managers Index rise into expansionary territory in October only to contract in November.
In Italy, though, where reforms drew huge public protests, the news was optimistic. Its PMI strengthened to 51.4 in November—above 50 indicates expansion—while the employment sub-index pushed into positive territory (50.6) for the first time since May 2011 and export orders hit their highest levels since March 2011.
Portugal, perhaps the most austere country in the zone, has seen two consecutive quarters of growth, though the third quarter was a bit below expectations.
(Read more: Cyprus sees more stability, even bitcoin innovation)
Nomura Securities said in a recent note that it expects European stocks to increase 14 percent in 2014.
In the U.S., Thursday's GDP reading gave reason to believe that the spending cuts and tax increases this year—albeit nowhere near European levels—did not tank the economy, which in fact continues to grow and seems nowhere near recession.
(Read more: Gangbuster! USgrowth surges, joblessness plunges)
As with Europe, though, economist remained cautious and warned that leaders better not get too comfortable with so many headwinds looming.
"That (austerity) narrative has a shelf life, and the shelf life ends pretty abruptly in the next couple of years," said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets. "That's when you start to have to deal with the potential blowout in the federal deficit related to entitlements."
Without continued reform, Porcelli said, the accomplishments of the past few years could fade quickly. Huge government deficits put pressure on rates, which in turn cause deeper deficits when they rise.
"People need to really sit down and hash this out," he said. "The reality is that while conditions in the U.S. over the past couple of years have improved, that's fool's gold to some extent because you have this massive hurdle of the entitlement problem that will push deficits much further into negative territory."
—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxCNBCcom.