But the improvement is more than a one-time rebound. Across a broad range of data, the economy continues gradually to gain strength.
To be sure, it's been a long slog back from the Great Recession, and the recovery isn't about to break any historical records.
Millions of "discouraged" workers have given up looking for a job, and wage gains have been sluggish for those who have one. Though housing starts and home sales are gradually improving, they're well off peak levels seen before the mortgage bubble burst in 2007.
But there are signs that the deep slide has finally given way to what economists call a "virtuous cycle"—where improvement in one part of the economy feeds into the others, creating a self-sustaining expansion.
Read MoreDurables surge by nearly 23 pct in July
This year's convincing job gains are boosting consumer confidence and—more importantly—helping to shore up household finances. Americans continue to pay down debt, which together with low interest rates has helped reduce the cost of paying off mortgages, car loans and other forms of borrowing. Lower borrowing costs have helped boost savings.
Read MoreConsumer optimism rises in August
That's also helped free up money for spending, giving a lift to retail sales and helping to support an ongoing, if sluggish, housing recovery.