Consumers are America's not so secret weapon to keep economy afloat, but they can't save the world

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With markets reeling from recession fears, the world is watching the resilient U.S. consumer, now in the strongest position since before the financial crisis — so far.

By many measures, the consumer is doing well, unscathed by the trade wars that have hit global manufacturing and business investment.

In the U.S., consumer sentiment is high; household balance sheets are strong; employment is still solid, and spending has been growing. The latest evidence of the consumer’s durability will be Thursday’s July retail sales report, expected to be up by 0.3%, according to Refinitiv.

“The consumer has played Atlas, carrying the economy, and it can do that, but the muscles come from job gains and wages,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “You can say the consumer is going to

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