The Two-Faced Economy

Consumers are spending, corporations are not. Which group is getting it wrong?

Illustration by Harry Campbell for TIME

We've heard plenty about the wealth divide in the U.S. economy. But there's another important divide--the one between consumers and corporations. If you look at how U.S. households have been behaving lately, you'd think it was all blue skies. Consumer confidence is at a five-year high, thanks to higher stock prices and a recovery in the housing market. Home prices have had their biggest jump since 2005. Consumers, finally feeling more flush, are buying that new car or electronic gadget and bolstering GDP growth a bit.

Part of the new confidence comes down to the fact that Americans have gotten their...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!