While we have no shortage of economic issues to remain concerned about, e.g. foreclosures, debt deleveraging and persistent unemployment just to name a few, solid retail sales data for March at least provide a boost to optimism and may highlight the fact that the economic recovery might indeed be entering that critical “self-sustaining” phase. According to the release, retail sales jumped 7.6 percent from the depression-esque levels of last March and core retail sales suggest a 3.5 percent annualized increase in consumer spending during 2010Q1. Although we normally don’t become overly focused on month-to-month changes in data that might be revised away completely, the fact that sales have been on an upswing, albeit a modest one, since last summer is a good sign.

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