Hype about U.S. economy woes is just that: Only hype

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The United States Commerce Department released figures today that soundly debunk much of the current hype about our economy. Though experts are screaming "recession," January retail figures show that consumers are in fact spending without reservation.

Retail sales were up by 0.3%
, and consumer demand for cars and items at gas stations made up a good chunk of the growth. Clothing stores also saw some nice gains, and general merchandise stores (think Target and Wal-Mart) saw minimal gains. So despite cries that "the sky is falling" and consumers are almost destitute, their spending shows otherwise.

While some areas of our economy are still challenged (like housing), this data is quite positive. Will you see the media applauding these numbers? Probably not. They may get a small mention, but right now it's far too popular to say we're doomed to a recession and we'll all be eating beans and rice before the year is out. I, on the other hand, say it's much more productive to stay positive about the economy, rather than talking ourselves right into a recession.

Oh, and did I mention that unemployment is at a very low level compared to the rates over the last 30 years? People have jobs, they're spending on goods, and our economy is humming along!

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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