In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo, the seal of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System is displayed in the ground at the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, File)

Older Americans are fueling a sustained boost to the U.S. economy. Benefiting from outsize gains in the stock and housing markets over the past several years, they are accounting for a larger share of consumer spending — the principal driver of economic growth — than ever before.

Construction workers work in Mount Prospect, Ill., Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File)

Friday’s report from the Labor Department also showed that the unemployment rate dipped from 3.9% to 3.8%. The jobless rate has now remained below 4% for 26 straight months, the longest such streak since the 1960s. 

A “Help Wanted” sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)

The economy looks set to grow 2.2% this year after adjusting for inflation, according to the National Association for Business Economics. That’s up from the 1.3% predicted in the association’s prior survey, which was conducted in November.

A worker moves a package at an Amazon same-day delivery shipping center in Woodland Park, New Jersey, on Monday, December 18, 2023. On Friday, the U.S. government issues its December jobs report. (AP Photo / Ted Shaffrey)

Friday’s government report showed that December’s job gain exceeded the 173,000 that were added in November. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% — the 23rd straight month that joblessness has come in below 4%.

A shopper passes by a sign trumpeting a sale at a clothing store in the Thornton Premium Outlets Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Thornton, Colo. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that U.S. consumer prices slid 0.1% last month from October and rose 2.6% from November 2022. The month-over-month drop was the largest since April 2020 when the economy was reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sale signs are displayed at an appliance store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Nov. 8, 2023. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)

Tuesday’s report from the Labor Department showed that prices either fell or rose more slowly across a broad range of goods and services, including gas, new and used cars, hotel rooms and housing. 

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago pictured in October 2023. (WTTW News)
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This weekend, visitors can learn all about the Federal Reserve and get a rare glimpse at an historic and heavily fortified building more than 100 years old.

A for sale sign stands outside a single-family residence on Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Denver. On Thursday, Freddie Mac reports on this week's average U.S. mortgage rates. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

The average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan rose to 7.31%, from 7.19% last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. A year ago, the rate averaged 6.70%.

A motorist fills up the tank of a vehicle at a Shell station Wednesday, July 5, 2023, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

In a set of conflicting data, the Labor Department said the consumer price index rose 3.7% in August from a year ago, up from a 3.2% annual pace in July. Yet excluding the volatile food and energy categories, so-called core prices rose 4.3%, a step back from 4.7% in July and the smallest increase in nearly two years. 

Healthcare instructor Aolion Doxie, right, works with Jamila Thomas at Naperville Wellness & Salt Cave in Naperville, Ill., Thursday, June 8, 2023. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)

U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs last month, fewer than expected. But the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5% in a sign that the job market remains resilient.

A employee pushes a cart at a Walmart in Vernon Hills, Ill., Tuesday, March 28, 2023. On Friday, the U.S. government issues the June jobs report. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File)

The latest sign of economic strength — a gain of 209,000 jobs last month — makes it all but certain that the Federal Reserve will resume its interest rate hikes later this month after having ended a streak of 10 rate increases that were intended to curb high inflation.

A news conference by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is displayed on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (AP Photo / Seth Wenig, File)

The Fed’s move to leave its benchmark rate at about 5.1%, its highest level in 16 years, suggests that it believes the much higher borrowing rates it’s engineered have made some progress in taming inflation. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)

The Fed's rate increases since March 2022 have more than doubled mortgage rates, elevated the costs of auto loans, credit card borrowing and business loans and heightened the risk of a recession.

A hiring sign is displayed at a restaurant in Prospect Heights, Ill., Tuesday, April 4, 2023. On Friday, the U.S. government issues the March jobs report. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)

Measured month to month, wages rose 0.3% from February to March, a tick up from a mild 0.2% gain from January to February. But even that figure signaled a slowdown from average wage increases in the final months of 2022.

Shoppers are silhouetted against the sky as they arrives for a sale at a Best Buy store Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Overland Park, Kan. (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel, File)

Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that consumer prices rose 0.3% from January to February, down from a 0.6% increase from December to January. 

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The Federal Reserve extended its year-long fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point despite concerns that higher borrowing rates could worsen the turmoil that has gripped the banking system.