Stocks slipped slightly Tuesday (Sept. 29) after a surprise drop in consumer confidence. But if you’re looking for signs that the recession is easing, there are other avenues for you to drive than just consumer confidence, according to WWSB-TV, Bradenton, Fla.

Among all the gloomy economic indicators out there, there’s one glimmer of hope: recreational vehicle sales are up. And one Florida RV dealer says that means the economy is on the road again.

Nothing prepared the owner of Dream RV for the events that played out 12 months ago. Dan Wilie will tell you that’s when his recession started. Thankfully it has eased since then. “Sales started turning around in May … June. It’s just a good indication things are coming around. We’re up 100% from this time last year.”

And to him that’s as good a sign as any that maybe our recession is easing as well. “Now they feel a little more confident and they know they can spend money on leisure.”

Call it the RV economic indicator. As big ticket sales on non-essential items start to pick up, so does the economy.

Business commentator Richard Stern will tell you there are loads of good economic indicators floating around: the stock market, consumer confidence, unemployment and gross domestic product. “Consumer confidence does seem to be on the up swing.”

All of those have value, but sometimes one indicator will tell you one thing and another will tell you well, another thing. So, if you are really interested in simplifying the issue, Stern says you can now find your answers in the housing market. “We are also seeing an increase in real estate sales, and that’s very important in many areas of the economy. It affects retailer and certainly affects the labor force and lord knows we can use more jobs.”

But back at Dream RV, they’ll trust good old RV sales. “When people are spending money on RVs they’re spending money on everything else. It’s going to catch up. No doubt about it,” says Wilie.

Dream RV attributes the rebound to improved credit for dealers and consumers, stable gas prices and the big driver is rising buyer sentiment.