Is the downturn all about weak aggregate demand?

Here is one report from yesterday:

Dining out will cost more this year as U.S. restaurants take advantage of the nearly two-year long expansion to boost prices on food and drinks.

Higher-priced menus reflect growing confidence by eateries that consumers can afford to pay more to eat out. Restaurants are emboldened in part by the success of U.S. airlines, which have raised fares almost 10 percent since a year ago, according to Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Capital in New York.

And another (1/20):

Retailers expected a good April, and they got it. Sales at stores open at least a year, a measure of retail buoyancy known as same-store sales, increased 8.9 percent on average in April, according to Thomson Reuters’ tracking of 25 retailers. That was one of the biggest increases in the last few years, and it topped analyst expectations of 8.2 percent.


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