Concerns Grow About Whether Consumers Will Spend As Economy Weakness Spreads

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The economy is showing growing signs of weakening on multiple fronts, with manufacturing already in decline and new questions about whether consumers will continue to serve as a bulwark for growth.

The National Retail Federation warned Thursday that economic uncertainty, new tariffs and fluctuations in the stock market could derail Americans’ spending plans in the run-up to the holidays. Consumers have been a bright spot in an otherwise flagging economy, and economists say this holiday season will be another test of their resilience.

“The U.S. economy is continuing to grow, and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” said Matthew Shay, chief executive of the National Retail Federation. “Nonetheless, there has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric. Confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables.”

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