This year's convincing job gains are boosting consumer confidence and—more importantly—helping to shore up household finances. Americans continue to pay down debt, which together with low interest rates has helped reduce the cost of paying off mortgages, car loans and other forms of borrowing. Lower borrowing costs have helped boost savings.
And the recent surprise crash in oil prices has sent gasoline prices tumbling, putting extra cash in the pockets of American consumers.
All of which has helped free up money for spending, giving a lift to retail sales and helping to support an ongoing, if sluggish, housing recovery.