The latest economic reports show disappointing U.S. retail sales, rising housing prices, while consumers are growing a bit less pessimistic.
Holiday sales grew a meager seven-tenths of one percent compared to this time last year, according to a study by “SpendingPulse.”
Holiday sales are a vital part of the consumer demand that drives most U.S. economic activity. Experts blamed the slowing growth in retail sales on the massive hurricane that hit the New York area and consumer worries that Washington’s political bickering could hurt the economy and raise the unemployment rate.
A separate Case-Shiller report shows housing prices rose 4.3 percent in October from the same month a year earlier. Severe problems in the housing sector were a key reason for the economic downturn. Economists say prices are rising due to record-low mortgage interest rates, a generally improving economy, and an expanding population.
Improvements in the housing sector are one reason a new Gallup poll shows U.S. consumers growing less pessimistic about the economy.