Daryl Montgomery argues that "hope for tomorrow" is propping up consumer confidence:

This is how it works. Consumers are bombarded with stories from the news media about how the economy is heading up and then they are asked if they think the economy will be better in six months. Not surprisingly, many answer yes and this causes overall consumer confidence to rise. As the months go on and they don't see any real improvement they become more pessimistic and they don't think things will be better in six months and then the number falls. This scenario has played out multiple times in the last three years.