Hitting the mall: Spending rose in September.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
October 29, 2012 There was a 0.8 percent rise from August to September. Since consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity, it is crucial.
October 26, 2012 The economy is growing and consumer confidence is rising. But the data are too mixed to point to a robust economy. And it may be too late anyway to change voters' impressions.
A GM assembly line in Lansing, Mich.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
October 26, 2012 The news is sure to be a hot topic on the campaign trail as President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney push to the Nov. 6 election.
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft at the company's factory in Everett, Wash. Orders for aircraft drove the increase in demand for durable goods last month.
Saul Loeb /AFP/Getty Images
October 25, 2012 The number of first-time claims remains stuck in a range between 350,000 and 400,000, though. Meanwhile, a surge in aircraft orders boosted demand for products designed to last three or more years.
A sign of the times at a building site in Ohio earlier this year.
John Kuntz /The Plain Dealer /Landov
October 24, 2012 The pace of sales was up 5.7 percent in September vs. August, and was 27.1 percent higher than in September 2011. Today's news is further evidence that the housing sector is on the rebound.
A "sold" sign in San Francisco in August.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
October 19, 2012 While the number of homes sold was down 1.7 percent from August, the median selling price has now risen for seven straight months. That hadn't happened since 2005-2006.
October 18, 2012 The increase put claims back in the range they've been stuck in all year. The previous week's sharp drop may have been due in part to changes in the way some seasonal changes in employment are reported.
How bright is their future? Students at Barnard College's graduation ceremony last May.
Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images
October 18, 2012 Two-thirds of graduates left college last year with student loans hanging over their heads. The average amount they owed was $26,600, up 5 percent from the previous year. Nearly 9 percent of the graduates were unemployed and 19.1 percent were working part time or had given up looking for a job.
"Black Friday" 2011 in Manhattan: Retailers hope to see shoppers out again in force this holiday season. If confidence stays high, they may get their wish.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images
October 12, 2012 The rise could spell good news for the economy if it means the crucial holiday shopping season will bring strong sales for retailers. It also might be an indicator of how voters will be feeling when they go to the polls.
October 9, 2012 On many economic issues, there's a broad consensus among undecided voters.
In China's Anhui province, a worker unloads steel bars at a factory. A slowdown in China and other major nations threatens to pull the global economy into recession, the International Monetary Fund warns.
October 9, 2012 International Monetary Fund economists also warn that things could get even worse if European leaders don't finally get the euro crisis under control and if U.S. lawmakers let the federal government go over its "fiscal cliff."
The welcome sign at a job fair earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
October 4, 2012 It's likely the Bureau of Labor Statistics will say the jobless rate ticked higher and that job growth was slow again in September, economists say. The presidential campaigns will surely be discussing the numbers.
October 1, 2012 Also: there was more residential construction under way in August.
Higher prices at the pump meant the amount of money consumers spent went up last month.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
September 28, 2012 Spending went up, but largely because gasoline cost more — not due to stronger demand.
September 27, 2012 There was a sharp drop in demand for durable goods last month. Meanwhile, it looks like the economy slowed more than thought in the spring. One bit of bright news: Claims for unemployment benefits declined last week.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor