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It means that even when consumers are hurting financially, usually the total $ they spend continues to increase, it just doesn't increase by as much as usual. So, for example, if last year I spent $33,000 on consumer items and the year before I spent $30,000, that was a 3% increase. If this year I spend $34,000, that's still an increase, but less than 1%. That's what usually happens in an economic slowdown or even mild recession. If I spend $32,000 in 2008, that's actually less than I spent in 2007, which is highly unusual and happens only when recessions are really bad.

Loki,

What happened to your math skills? Usually, you are on the money (honestly, the pun was unintentional at first, but I left it here after catching it) with these types of things.

When the consumer's spending went up from $30K to $33K, they increased consumption by 10%. The next year, the $1K increase is about a 3% increase in spending. The point you were trying to get across is still valid, but the devil is in the details...

Acme
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