How the Economy Is -- and Isn't -- Affecting Our Lives

Our Roundup of the Often Confusing News About Consumer Spending Behavior

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NEW YORK ( -- It seems every day there is dire news about the economy -- and even more dire news about how it is affecting our everyday lives. If you believe the headlines, we're driving smaller cars -- or we're not driving at all. We're not eating out -- or maybe we're still eating out but more cheaply. We're not shopping -- except maybe we're shopping only at dollar stores.

It's kind of hard to tell, with some seeming contradictions in news stories lately. So with marketers explaining away this largely lousy batch of earnings with explanations about just what America is -- and isn't -- doing lately, we thought we'd round it all up for you.

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