Consumer fears put economy on the brink
By Peter Whoriskey
While the Dow Jones industrial average and the unemployment rate get more attention, the shoppers outside a Wal-Mart in Northern Virginia offer a taste of what some economists believe is the more immediate reason that the U.S. economy may be on the verge of another recession.
Americans are still spooked.
More than two years after the recession’s official end, people are driving their cars a year longer, holding back on jewelry and furniture, and swapping brand names for cheaper store brands at the supermarket.