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Economic Preview: Economy capped off strong 2018 with big holiday season, but we won’t know for sure due to government shutdown

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Retailers rang up the strongest sales in 2019 in six years, credit card issuer MasterCard says. It’s more proof of a a sturdy U.S. economy that could soon set a record for longest expansion ever.

The holiday shopping season looks to have been one of the best in years in another manifestation of the economy’s firm backbone, but don’t expect to hear about it this week.

The partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 has forced a delay in key economic reports. The newest victim might be Wednesday’s scheduled release of U.S. retail sales in December. The latest snapshot on home construction is also at risk.

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