This week, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending was heading upward, thanks in part to the strongest sales in six months for automobiles.
For the automobile industry, that's reassuring, but the larger trend points to a period of stagnation.
In recent years, there's been much speculation over whether or not Americans have gotten over their love affair with automobiles. We are often told that younger consumers (i.e., Millennials) don't like cars, and will all move to Manhattan and take the subway, or ride Uber cars everywhere else they want to go.
It's unclear whether or not we can blame auto sales declines on Millennial hipsterism, however. After all, with Baby Boomers moving into their 70s, more Americans are facing declining wage-based income and they're facing a need for more retirement planning. Fewer of them are running out and buying an "extra" car for weekend use.