Associated Press (08/15/12) Christopher Rugaber
The U.S. economy appears more resilient, with recent reports indicating factories produced more goods in July and homebuilders grew more confident in the housing recovery. Meanwhile, consumer prices stayed flat last month, potentially leading to increased consumer spending in the second half of the year.
While the gains are encouraging, economists are approaching the mostly positive data with some caution. The economy remains weak after a sluggish spring. A severe drought in the Midwest could send food prices surging later this year, and gas prices have also increased recently after falling from a peak near $4 a gallon in April. “It was generally expected that July would be a decent month…but uncertainty lies ahead,” says Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.