News / USA

US Sees Uptick in Consumer Spending

In this Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, photo, Lana Nguyen, right, holds up a shirt while helping friend Chris Ghiathi, left, shop in an H&M store, in Atlanta.In this Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, photo, Lana Nguyen, right, holds up a shirt while helping friend Chris Ghiathi, left, shop in an H&M store, in Atlanta.
x
In this Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, photo, Lana Nguyen, right, holds up a shirt while helping friend Chris Ghiathi, left, shop in an H&M store, in Atlanta.
In this Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, photo, Lana Nguyen, right, holds up a shirt while helping friend Chris Ghiathi, left, shop in an H&M store, in Atlanta.
VOA News
U.S. consumer spending rose two-tenths of a percent in December as incomes grew, according to Commerce Department data realeased Thursday.  Some economists say that fits a pattern showing a gradually recovering U.S. economy.  

Consumer spending is watched closely because consumer demand drives most U.S. economic activity.

The upbeat spending data may be evidence that an earlier report indicating that the U.S. economy shrank slightly over the past few months was a pause before modest growth resumes.  

A separate report showed the number of Americans signing up for unemployment compensation rose by 38,000 to a total of 368,000 applications last week.  

​Economists say the jump in jobless claims follows a couple of weeks of improving numbers and probably will not change the unemployment rate, which will be reported Friday and is expected to stay at 7.8 percent.  

The unemployment situation has been improving slowly since the end of the recession.

Cornell University economics professor Sharon Poczter said current efforts to cut the jobless rate by cutting interest rates have not worked well.

"We see that almost nothing has changed on unemployment; it is exactly where it was when we started this recession," she said.  "We can see that monetary policy alone will not fix unemployment."

Poczter suggested a better approach would be to reform the U.S. education system so high schools better prepare workers for the growing number of high-income, high-tech jobs.

"Our standards for the high school diploma have stayed the same, while the needed skills for those jobs have increased," she said.  "So how could it possibly be that the high school diploma is sufficient anymore?"

Poczter said middle class jobs were disappearing and wages for the remaining jobs were falling even before the economic crisis and the recent recession accelerated that trend.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid