Consumers are feeling better about current conditions and prospects for the future, but the improvement is gradual and subject to short-term swings.
Business leaders reading the papers or watching TV might think that "consumers are tapped out." Neither the consumer attitude surveys nor actual spending support this hypothesis. Consumers are in moderate mode--not stretching to spend more, not hunkering down for the apocalypse. Expect continued gradual growth in 2014, but possibly an acceleration of spending next year.