After back-to-back years of weak holiday sales, the U.S. retail market is enjoying a rebound in 2010 – at least through November’s big “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” shopping extravaganzas.
In fact, this year’s “Cyber Monday” was the biggest online shopping day ever – and for the month online sales surged by 16 percent over last November, according to comScore, Inc.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence rose in November to its highest level in five months.
But does a solid start to the holiday shopping season presage a broader economic recovery – one that creates enough new jobs to start chipping away at the nation’s high unemployment (and underemployment) rate? Or are November’s impressive retail numbers a sign that consumers will spend less than expected in December?
Most importantly, if the economy is indeed experiencing another modest uptick … can it be sustained into the coming year?
Specifically, what will a lame duck Democratic Congress do regarding a host of pressing tax issues, including the so-called “Bush” tax cuts and President Barack Obama’s earned income tax credit?
As it does in any economic climate, government is once again facing a choice between stimulating its own growth (i.e. more spending) or the growth of the economy (i.e. less spending, more tax cuts).
Let’s hope our leaders get it right this time …