Numbers show consumers are loosening the grip on their wallets, but slowly.
“Consumers are returning to the marketplace, with an air of caution,” said Connie Kann, area director of the Better Business Bureau.
For big ticket items, such as homes and cars, businesses are still reporting “feast or famine” in sales, said Kann, who represents the consumer industry on the Times Board of Economists.
Locally, home sales have increased, she said. May numbers showed sales were up 34.8 percent in Lake County, compared to May of 2012. The increase was 19.2 percent during the same time frame in Porter County, Kann said.
“With the increase in home building and some business expansion, locally, the consumers seem to feel more hopeful,” she said.
Nationally, expectations continue to grow and the labor market outlook is more positive, she said.