Increasing employment and income data suggest that retail sales could accelerate even more from here.
Shopping center data hit new highs, auto sales broke all expectations in June despite strong headwinds, and pending home sales made one of their biggest jumps in the recovery.
A skills mismatch and lack of labor mobility could trouble the employment market.
UPDATE: Utilities, airlines seen at risk in second half of year
MARKET SNAPSHOT: Utilities, Airlines Seen At Risk In Second Half Of Year
But the economy is not all roses, either.
The report for December indicates that the economy is neither falling apart nor accelerating in any meaningful way, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Last week's GDP revisions gave everyone a chance to revisit where the economy is and where has it been.
Lackluster ADP data suggest that August's mediocre job growth likely seeped into September, too, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Anticipating that the Fed will prolong its stimulus efforts, markets jumped this week on anemic economic news and so-so earnings.