Despite recent speculation that consumer spending was higher than expected during the holiday shopping season, it appears that the U.S. economy may have slowed in the third quarter of 2010, according to Bloomberg.
Economic forecasters expected an average of a 2.8 percent increase in a recent survey conducted by the news source. However, the actual increase in gross domestic product experienced during the tail end of this year was approximately 2.6 percent.
Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, told the news source that a dearth of "inflation does remain the biggest downside risk to the U.S. economy," and that minimal growth "is not enough to move unemployment meaningfully."
Unemployment is currently at 9.8 percent, and it's unlikely that the slow-moving economy will do anything to lower that number. However, consumer spending did rise at a pace of 2.4 percent over the last quarter, which is the fastest it's grown since early 2007.
Consumers who are troubled by the current economic climate may be striving to get out of debt. Those who want to pay off their credit card balances should try to make all purchases with their own funds rather than with plastic, according to MSNBC.