MANY of West Virginia's public school students will be headed back to their classrooms this week, so the back-to-school shopping season is well underway.
Experts don't know what to expect from these fundamental drivers of the American economy.
The National Retail Federation reported that U.S. households are planning to spend about 8 percent less for this year's back-to-school shopping season because of the bumpy economic recovery.
"The potentially lackluster spending is one more signal that consumers are conflicted about the strength of the recovery and the stability of their buying power," Bloomberg News said.
The federation said total back-to-school spending could total $26.7 billion this year. That translates to about $634.78 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics - down from $688.62 last year, it said.
"There is no question that the economy still has a tight grip on Americans' spending decisions," said the federation's chief executive officer, Matthew Shay.
Behind the projected retail figures were disappointing statistics on job creation.
The Wall Street Journal reported employers added 162,000 positions in July, "once again led by lowerwage positions in retail and food service industries."