Manufacturing's Up. Confidence Falls. Gas Prices Got You Down?

The world is ginning out numbers today.

Factories in July made more stuff for the first time in nine months. The Federal Reserve reports industrial production was up 0.5 percent, which amounts to a big increase in these days of stagnant economic indicators.

You folks out don't seem any happier. The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index skidded this month from 66 to 63.2, whatever that means. High Frequency Economics' Ian Shepherdson says the dip may stem from rising gas prices. "Either way, it is not clear that the confidence numbers are as useful a guide to spending now as in the past," he writes.

Me, I'm still blaming unemployment for the general gloom, especially the rise in people who've been out of work six months or longer. How's anyone supposed to feel confident in a time like that?

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