CARBONDALE, IL—Citing the fact that he's now able to make the minimum payment on his credit cards each month and is back in the workforce making $20,000 less than when he was laid off in 2009, 43-year-old Tom Baker declared Tuesday that the economy was recovering by leaps and bounds. "The tide is turning!" said the man who had to sell his four-bedroom home for less than what he owed on it and move his wife and three children to a cramped apartment 800 miles away. "My company just hired 50 skilled contract employees with a guaranteed eight months of paid employment. America is back!" Baker said that if the economic turnaround continues, he may be able to save enough money to send at least one of his children in for a dental checkup.