Retail sales are up 0.5 percent, their biggest gain in three months – but consumer sentiment is at a three-decade low.
A new report from the Department of Commerce shows average US incomes rising, but with rapidly-climbing fuel and food prices, 'real' disposable income is down.
Pundits predict healthy growth in 2011 and fewer unemployed. But housing and state budgets may struggle.
This year, day-after-Christmas sales are expected to be even more festive than usual. Fortuitous timing and Americans' renewed willingness to spend should cap the improved retail season.
The momentum doesn't mean the economy is running full steam ahead. But the recent reports, including on consumer spending, suggest that the economic recovery may be gaining traction.
The Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 54.1 in November. That's still well below prerecession levels, but the improved sentiment may have helped online sales on Cyber Monday.
Home sales are still below the rate of a year ago, as is the median price. Concerns persist that foreclosures and the slow economy threaten even lower values.
Data continue to point to a tepid economic recovery for the US rather than a dip into a second recession. The latest clue: Incomes were up for Americans in August, but only 0.5 percent.
The rise in consumer spending counters investor fears of a dip back into recession as the American consumer loosens up a bit.
The consumer pause in May came after seven months of gains in retail sales. There's some concern about a 'double dip' recession, but most forecasters see the economy recovering at a slow pace.