Nation's most confident consumers? Right here in the breadbasket

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A recent report finds consumer confidence is edging upward nationwide, but nowhere is it stronger than in Minnesota and some of its neighboring Midwestern states.

When the New York Times sought to illustrate consumer optimism, it used a Twin Cities woman named Angelina Sam as a case study. Sam couldn't afford to celebrate Christmas at all a year ago. That's changed. Now working two full-time jobs to supplement her husband's income, she made shopping trips to five stores on Black Friday alone. The Times also followed a Columbus, Ohio, shopper on a strict budget to underscore that not all buyers are freewheeling this year.

The consumer confidence numbers come from the Conference Board, whose preliminary November report shows modest gains compared to October. The Board divides the country into regions. Confidence was strongest in an area that includes Minnesota and half a dozen other states to the west and south.

The Global Economic Intersection uses the Conference Board report to take a more exhaustive look at evidence that consumers are making a transition away from a Recessionary mindset.

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