MODEST SALES: Americans boosted their spending at retail businesses by a modest 0.2 percent last month, the smallest gain in four months. Sales of autos and furniture jumped, while sales of clothes and sporting goods fell.
CAUTIOUS CONSUMERS: Weak wage growth, modest job gains and higher taxes have limited Americans' spending power. Consumer spending drives roughly 70 percent of economic growth.
SLOWER GROWTH: Most economists forecast economic growth will slow to a 2 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, down from the 2.5 percent annual rate in the previous quarter.