After several years of intently watching the Fed for clues as to the economy, the markets and interest rates, 2015 will be the year that we can finally take our eyes off the Fed, and focus on the consumer.
Think this year won’t be about the consumer? Think again. The markets easily weathered the withdrawal of quantitative easing, and they no longer seem to be reacting to speculation over when the Fed will start tightening. On the other hand, two pieces of economic data were released in early January that were key to gauging consumer activity: the average hourly earnings component of the December jobs report, and advance retail sales for December, a critical month for retailers.