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Amidst worries that consumer spending is lagging due to the credit crunch, housing slump and high energy prices, Reuters goes and releases a report saying that consumer confidence in January rose on its Surveys of Consumers index of confidence, to 80.5 from a 75.5 tally in December.The survey, done by the news service and the University of Michigan, says consumers still have “a negative view toward their current finances and were concerned about rising inflation and unemployment.”But a Bloomberg article on the same survey says: “Job and wage growth is helping cushion the blow from higher gasoline bills, tougher borrowing conditions and falling home values, economists said.”This is just confusing.Have reports about consumer doom and gloom been overblown? Or is this just a small bright spot in the bigger, gloomier picture?

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