NEW YORK ( Stockpickr) -- When the U.S. economy has slipped into recession, the subsequent snapback is usually quite robust. Pent-up demand is unleashed, and it's not unusual to see the economy grow at a 3% or 4% pace after the recession ends.Not this time. The U.S. economy seems to have never quite recovered from the recession of 2008 and 2009 and at times has even threatened to tip back into recession. The next few quarters should bring more of the same. Struggles in Europe and Asia, along with policy questions relating to the "fiscal cliff" here at home could leave economists singing the winter blues. >>5 Stocks Ready for a Dividend Boost in 2012 But signs of a longer-term thaw are already occurring. Recent consumer surveys have shown a bit more optimism, leading retailers to hope that this coming holiday season will being some cheer. And the housing sector, which has an impact on many other sectors of the economy, appears to be in the early stages of a long-awaited upturn. That's why we may finally be on a path toward robust expansion as we get closer to the middle of the decade. A rebounding economy can be quite favorable for mid-cap stocks. These firms are more stable and solid than smaller-capitalization companies, yet are more nimble than the nation's biggest companies. Of equal importance, these firms tend to have more a domestic exposure in their sales mix than the globally-focused large caps. No small consideration when the rest of the world is wobbling. >>Dow 55,000? It's Closer Than You Think Here are five mid-cap stocks with solid long-term track records and rising forward sales projections.