The last recession hit consumers hard, wiping out jobs, home equity, stock holdings, and income and leaving them burdened with debt run up in boom times. With crucial holiday shopping season getting underway, the American consumer, who sat out for much of the past four years, is finally getting back in the game. Buoyed by improving job and housing markets, and gaining confidence as the recovery continues its slow, steady march, consumers are spending again. Home sales are up. Auto sales are up. Retail sales are up.
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