Of course, ?fitful gains,? as the Journal�described�the economy?s progress on Saturday, are better than no gains at all. A month ago, economists were talking seriously about whether the U.S. was headed back into a recession. Now, after a series of encouraging indicators?among them, a better-than-expected�jobs report,�resilient exports�and�strong retail sales?the roller coaster seems to be once again on an upward path. But the focus on the ups and downs can obscure the larger truth: The economy has been stuck more or less in neutral since the recession ended.