CHICAGO (WBBM) — For weeks now, experts have been saying the recession is over.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports, shoppers in Chicago and the suburbs have certainly been spending like such is the case.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Felicia Middlebrooks Reports

Third-quarter retail sales are up nearly 5 percent in the Chicago area, and the upward trend is expected to continue.

This means thousands have spent close to $25 million on everything from clothing and jewelry to restaurants and electronics. It represents the largest quarterly jump since 2006.

Retail real estate consultant John Melaniphy says the unleashing of wallets is driven by depressed demand, and he says people feel like the recession in general has just bottomed out.

Melaniphy told the Chicago Tribune he expects fourth-quarter retail sales to rise 6.8 percent to $26.2 billion. But full-year sales are still expected to lag compared with the pre-recession high of $101 billion back in 2007, he told the newspaper.

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