Nov. 17: A sign in a Staten Island storefront tells a lot. It was still closed because of the damage done by Superstorm Sandy in late October. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Mario Tama/Getty Images

Better than expected: Economic growth was higher in the third quarter than first thought. Here, a worker at a Ford plant in Michigan plugs a batter into a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid vehicle. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Shoppers at a Target store in Westbury, N.Y., last week. Consumer spending drives the economy. And the holiday shopping season is crucial for retailers. Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov