The Commerce Department estimates the economy grew 2.2%, so far this year compared to 3% at the end of 2011. Experts also think those numbers will rebound back to 3% by the end of this year, as stronger job growth ignites consumer spending. Experts say 4% growth is needed to drop the national unemployment rate by one full point.
Consumer spending is 70% of economic activity. That's good news because that's exactly what people are doing.
"We're all out spending money on a girl's shopping day," Nicole Bianchini said.
"Look at my new shades," Julia Branch said. "Look at these. These are rad."
In February, Nevadans bought $3.2 billion worth of taxable goods. That's up over 10% from a year ago. Mark Pingle is a professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Reno and he says the recovery is showing positive signs.
"Nevada is coming back fairly strong," Pingle said. "So, it looks like a pretty good recovery for Nevada. Of course, Nevada has been relatively weak, so you would expect a stronger comeback."
Silver and Blue Outfitters, in Meadowood Mall, sells mostly Wolf Pack and Aces apparel. Store manager Shane Stuart says he's seen more foot traffic in the mall but also noticed people are spending money on entertainment, which helps this business.
"Even though the economy may not be as well as it was, people are still going to Wolf Pack games and going to Aces games and stuff like that," Stuart said. "So, they're coming in here and spending money to go to those games."
Car sales are also coming on strong with a double-digit gain, up over 22% over last year.
"The economy will resurge because people do have to live and conduct commerce," Reno resident Dave Thomsen said.
The real estate market is starting to show signs of life, too. With the median home price, in Washoe County, at about $150,000 March saw the second highest sales total in history, with 524 homes sold. But that doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet.
"Unfortunately, I have and you probably have friends that have lost their homes and stuff," Reno resident Brad Bolotin said. "What I think is that people aren't as scared as they were before."
There are a few things that are holding back this recovery though, like fuel prices, uncertainty in Europe, and the federal deficit.
"People don't know how much they're taxes are going to go up or if they have government contracts, how much they might be cut back," Pingle said. "So, that holds people back from taking action that they would otherwise take."
To put things in perspective, the U.S. is expecting 3% economic growth this year, compared to 17 countries that use the Euro as their currency, who expect their economy to shrink 0.3% in 2012.