Retail sales, manufacturing data signal recovery


Notch two more favorable data points for the nation's economy: Retail sales posted the largest monthly gain in three years and a key regional manufacturing index rose to its highest level since the recession started.

True, we'll have to place a qualifier on retail sales -- it's generally accepted that the government's "cash for clunkers" program simply encouraged people who would have bought a car next year to do so this year instead. But the New York Fed's manufacturing survey continues to show a factory sector that's starting to revive, a development that could help pull the U.S. economy out its pronounced recession.