Locally, consumer spending saw a slight increase in the fourth quarter of 2013.
"This correlates directly with the rise in the stock market and continued year-over-year growth in home sales for the region," said Connie Kann, area director of the Better Business Bureau.
Retailers, who were worried holiday sales would take a hit because there were fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, were pleased with the increased sales, she said.
"This is good news when compared with the same quarter in 2012 as consumers were not feeling confident about the economy, so held back their purchases," she said. "Although not progressing by leaps and bounds, the region is not going backwards, but progressing slowly forward."
Kann said data show consumer sentiment climbed by the year's end.
"Household purchases, which account for almost 70 percent of the economy, rose 0.5 percent by year end after a 0.4 percent gain in October and was larger than previously estimated," she said, citing a report from the United States Department of Commerce.