Consumers Are Willing, But Their Wallets Are Weak

For a recovery that most economists believe is four or five months old, you would expect the data to look a lot more reassuring. Instead, some of the latest numbers are starting to raise doubts. Manufacturing looks upbeat, but the data from consumers are downright worrisome. That's an important split. It was a postwar burst of consumer spending that sparked the factory rebound, and consumers hold the key to the recovery's longevity.

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