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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Confidence Remains Strong
by Tom Moeller  May 27, 2014

The Conference Board reported that their reading of consumer confidence improved to 83.0 this month from 81.7 in April, revised from 82.3. The latest figure remained nearly the highest since January 2008 and matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 44% correlation between the level of confidence and the three-month change in real personal consumption expenditures.

The present situations figure led overall confidence higher with a 2.4% rise to 80.4 (24.1 y/y) from a revised 78.5. That was accompanied by a 1.1% rebound (5.2% y/y) in the expectations reading to 84.8 (5.2% y/y). Business conditions were rated as good by an easier 21.1% of respondents, but that remained near the highest level since October 2007. Jobs were viewed as hard to get by a slightly lower 32.3% of respondents, near the expansion low. An increased 15.4% thought there would be more jobs in six months. To the downside, just 0.6% of respondents expected to buy a home in six months, the least since February of last year while a lessened 45.1% were going to buy a major appliance, the least since September 2011. A depressed 3.5% of respondents planned to buy a new automobile within the next six months. Expectations for the inflation rate in six months increased to 5.6%, the highest reading since March of last year.

By age group, confidence improved greatly amongst individuals under 35 years old to its highest level September 2007. For those aged 35-54 years old, confidence was roughly stable m/m (13.8% y/y) nut confidence amongst individuals aged 55 and over fell for the second straight month (+8.8% y/y).

The Consumer Confidence data is available in Haver's CBDB database. The total indexes appear in USECON and the market expectations are in AS1REPNA.

Conference Board (SA, 1985=100) May Apr Mar Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Consumer Confidence Index 83.0 81.7 83.9 11.7 73.2 67.1 58.1
  Present Situation 80.4 78.5 82.5 24.1 67.6 49.8 36.1
  Expectations 84.8 83.9 84.8 5.2 77.0 78.6 72.8
Consumer Confidence By Age Group
  Under 35 Years 114.7 105.0 102.4 18.4 93.1 86.5 77.3
  Aged 35-54 Years 87.2 86.8 89.4 13.8 76.8 68.5 59.8
  Over 55 Years 66.8 68.8 72.4 8.8 61.2 56.7 47.3
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