Shoppers are partying like it’s 2007 again

Let's party like it's 2007

"I've been saving for three years to score these pretty average sheet sets!"

Start pouring the champagne early, ladies and gents! The Times reports that Americans are splurging like it’s BR (before the recession).

After a 6 percent free fall in 2008 and a 4 percent uptick last year, retail spending rose 5.5 percent in the 50 days before Christmas, exceeding even the more optimistic forecasts, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks retail spending. The rise was seen in just about every retail category.

“For the past year or two, when I’ve seen growth in one area, it seems to come at the expense of another,” said Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis at SpendingPulse. “Here, things are actually all moving in the right direction.”

The MasterCard data suggests that the pre-Christmas sales increase was the biggest in five years. Spending reached about $584.3 billion, compared with $566.3 billion in that period in 2007.

“In the face of 10 percent unemployment and persistent housing woes, the American consumer has single-handedly picked himself off the mat, brushed his troubles off and strapped the U.S. economy on his back,” Craig R. Johnson, the president of the consulting firm Customer Growth Partners, wrote in an e-mail.

WOOOOOOOOOT! Looks like all the cash people have been storing in their bedsprings has come out of hiding! So the economy’s all fixed up now and everyone’s going to get jobs, right?

Looks like this holiday season will be missing some Santas and Elvs

Add this to your list of jobs affection by the recession.

The usual preholiday hiring didn’t happen in October as New York City’s unemployment rate held at 10.3 percent, its highest level in 16 years, the NYT reports.

Employers traditionally add to payrolls in the fall, but they have shown a reluctance to hire this year, despite proclamations from some government officials that the recession has ended. Stores, restaurants and hotels usually start taking on workers in September and October and shed them in January and February.

But this year doesn’t give much hope to aspiring fashionistas and cashiers alike. “The number of jobs in the retail trade in the city declined by 1,100 in October,” James Brown, an analyst with the Labor Department, told the NYT.

Looks like this will be a tough winter—and I’m not referring to the long lines at Macy’s.