Consumer spending in the US rose for a fifth consecutive month in February, according to data released yesterday by the Commerce Department.
To many analysts, including Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, this data suggests that factors are falling into place for a sustained recovery.
Earlier this month, there was similarly encouraging news in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business, which shows that the overall economy grew for the tenth consecutive month during February.
And, if you're looking for even more "signposts of economic recovery," see this Monthly Dashboard of Leading US Economic Indicators, compiled by the Corporate Executive Board.
While I'll admit that it's heartening to see the manufacturing sector undergoing a relatively stable recovery, industrial production and capacity utilization remain disappointing. Plus, a sustained global recovery will require not only continued growth in consumer spending, but also improved employment. We'll learn more about that critical element when the Labor Department releases its new numbers at the end of the week. From what I hear, economists are expecting this new jobs report to show more good news: that employers added jobs this month for only the second time since the recession began in December 2007.
A table of the most recent economic indicators is available here.