The economy has multiple personality disorder.
The nation's auto companies are reveling in their strongest monthly sales in about five years. The housing market is rebounding. And manufacturing is not far behind.
Job growth, however, remains stuck in first gear, creating an intractable problem for the almost 12 million Americans out of work and giving companies little incentive to raise pay. Overall economic growth is feeble at best.
So why the discord?
Four years after the end of the Great Recession, U.S. car makers are on a roll. Both Ford and Chrysler Tuesday posted strong sales gains in June, as U.S. consumers continue to flock to showrooms to replace worn out clunkers and snap up higher-efficiency new models.
The ongoing pickup in housing construction and a boom in U.S. oil production also is helping car makers boost sales of light trucks. Ford posted a 13 percent overall sales gain on strong demand for its F-Series pickup truck, which had its strongest sales since 2005.
Chrysler said U.S. sales in June rose eight percent on strong demand for its two best-selling vehicles, the Ram full-size pickup truck and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV.
Car makers and industry analysts expect the sales momentum to continue, thanks to strong pent-up demand, easier financing terms from lenders and rising consumer confidence. Overall industry sales in June are expected to show a rise of up to eight percent. They are also on track to hit levels not seen since before the financial collapse of 2008 sent sales plunging and forced Chrysler and General Motors into bankruptcy the following year.
"The fundamentals for continued industry gains in new-vehicle sales remain intact," Chrysler U.S. sales chief Reid Bigland said in a statement.
The rebound in manufacturing continues to spread beyond the auto sector. New orders for factory goods rose for a second straight month in May, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, as businesses and those consumers who have a job boost spending on everything from factory robots to new refrigerators, respectively.