The economy is showing growing signs of weakening on multiple fronts, with manufacturing already in decline and new questions about whether consumers will continue to serve as a bulwark for growth.

The National Retail Federation on Thursday warned that economic uncertainty, new tariffs and fluctuations in the stock market could derail Americans’ spending plans in the run-up to the holidays. Consumers have so far been a bright spot in an otherwise flagging economy, and economists say this holiday season will be another test of their resilience.

“The U.S. economy is continuing to grow and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” said Matthew Shay, chief executive of the National Retail Federation. “Nonetheless, there has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric. Confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables.”

The bad news has been piling up lately: U.S. manufacturing has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, while the services sector is at its weakest level in three years, according to data released by the Institute for Supply Management this week. Markets retreated on Tuesday and Wednesday in a two-day plunge that wiped out more than 3 percent of the stock market. Job growth is slowing, and auto sales are contracting after seven years of brisk growth.

And although the unemployment rate remains low – at 3.7 percent – economists say it could begin to inch up if companies cut back on hiring. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose during the last week in September, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday. Monthly jobs data for September is scheduled to be released Friday morning.

Even so, many consumers continue to feel good about their personal finances, according to the National Retail Federation’s chief economist.

The question now, he said, is whether looming and political uncertainty will offset their “willingness and ability to spend this holiday season.” Nearly 80 percent of consumers surveyed by the group said they were concerned that tariffs could lead to price increases and impact their shopping plans.

Overall, the trade group expects holiday retail sales to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent from last year, to about $730 billion.

Holiday spending grew 2.1 percent last year, markedly lower than the NRF’s original forecast of about 4.5 percent. The group attributed that “unusually small” showing to the government shutdown, stock market volatility and tariffs.

“There are probably very few precedents for this uncertain macroeconomic environment,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation. “There is significant economic unease.

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