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Falling U.S. wages threaten consumer spending (Bloomberg News)

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Bad news for workers and retailers. With less money in their pockets, consumer confidence is definitely down. Several economic indicators show that take-home pay, personal income and household income are falling or have dropped to record lows not seen in many years. Therefore, even those with a job are expected to shop less, or as one economist put it, spend only “on necessities, not desires.” Making matters worse are stock market losses that erode wealth, plunging home values, stagnant wage growth and high unemployment. On the retail front, luxury stores may be hurt, but discounters such as Target and Wal-Mart will fare better as shoppers trade down.