"The proximate cause of the sharp drop in confidence was the rise in gas and food prices. The more damaging cause, however, was that the fewest consumers in more than a half century expected income increases, and many fewer anticipated gains in their inflation-adjusted incomes. The data clearly indicate that the rate of real consumer spending will diminish, but the data do not indicate a renewed downturn is now on the horizon. Continued job gains are essential as even modest job losses could quickly shift consumers toward retrenchment. For now, consumers find discounts attractive, and remain willing to modestly increase their spending."
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