The good news: sales began to rise at the end of 2009, having sustained themselves nicely after the revelry of cash-for-clunkers. The final data isn't in yet, but Bloomberg's survey of analysts suggests two months of gains in November and December. Predictions estimate that Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan saw increases, with General Motors and Chrysler looking at slipping sales.
The silver lining? Meager sales could "indicate significant pent-up demand." That kettle of demand is going to take some time to boil, but a rise in household spending is penciled in for late 2010, along with greater availability of credit, and a drop in unemployment numbers is in the forecast as well. The road to recovery will be a slow one, but hopefully with the turn of the calendar year will come a turn in fortunes for the U.S. economy.
[Source: Bloomberg | Image: Scott Olson/Getty]