The US economy is, about 70% of it anyway, a function of US consumer spending. Thus, one of the best ways to gauge the strength of the economy is to measure consumer spending during the seminal shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The revenue reports are still coming in, but it looks like this year was a little worse for the holiday shopping rush. The Associated Press reports fewer people shopping on Black Friday weekend, exemplified by spending drop from $57.4 billion last Thanksgiving weekend to $50.9 billion this year. Despite relatively good measures of corporate earnings and profitability, top line revenue expansion for the private sector may be hampered if the weaker Black Friday shopping report is a true harbinger of consumer behavior. Of course, the optimistic side in me hopes that this simply means that more consumers are content to do their shopping later and to instead focus on friends and family during the long weekend. Here’s hoping everyone had a great Thanksgiving!