When the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose from 61.5 in January to 70.8 in February, the news spurred the Dow Jones Industrial Average to close above 13,000 for the first time in nearly four years. Yet while that was a positive sign of an improving economy, economists were widely quoted saying they regarded the score of 70 as 20 points below the mark of a truly healthy economy in which Americans spend discretionary dollars on luxuries like restaurant meals. The last time the ...
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