Heading into the holiday shopping season, retailers won’t be the only ones closely watching consumer behavior throughout the United States and Nevada. Economists will also be watching because consumer spending plays a critical role in the national economy.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. economy, so any shift in spending, either up or down, can shift the economy’s overall performance. In the latest quarter (Q3 2016), consumer spending in the U.S. climbed to $12.8 trillion, which was up from the $12.4 trillion of the prior year. That growth of more than $450 billion made up 88 percent of the year’s growth in gross domestic product, which also includes domestic investment, net exports and government spending. On an annual basis, consumer spending in the U.S. grew by 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2016. That rate was up slightly from the 3.5 percent in the prior year, but it trailed the nearly 5 percent growth rate in the third quarter of 2014.

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