The United States is a consumer-driven economy. People buying goods and services is the most critcal driver of GDP. That's why holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are often talked about by otherwise serious market watchers - they are important indicators of economic health! Crazy stuff.
Fortunately, we don't have to wait for the holidays to see how much stuff people are buying. We can see it on a monthly basis:
The various rates of change also make for useful comparative metrics:
Please note that charts need a moment to load as there is a significant amount of data processing.