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Americans are unhappy about the economy but still spending big

Americans might say they're upset about rising prices and losing confidence in the economy, but that hasn't stopped them from snapping up cars, electronics, fitness equipment and other big-ticket items.

"Consumers are very concerned about inflation, but that has not held back spending," said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group. Foto: Ringo H.w. Chiu/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

Retail sales jumped 1.7% in October, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday - a significant acceleration from September levels even as new data put consumer confidence at a 10-year low. Walmart and Home Depot clearly benefited from the surge, with both retail behemoths reporting robust third-quarter sales and profits.

The data highlights a unique economic moment where the country is still in the grip of a pandemic, but the coronavirus and fears surrounding it have receded enough for economic activity to maintain a brisk pace. Even so, the composition of spending remains heavily weighted toward goods instead of services in the run-up to the holidays...

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