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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Confidence Buoyed by the Young
by Tom Moeller  June 28, 2016

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index increased 6.1% during June to 98.0 (-1.8% y/y) from 92.4, revised from 92.6. The latest figure was the highest since October and beat expectations for 93.0 in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 70% correlation between the level of confidence and the y/y change in real consumer spending.

By age group, confidence amongst respondents under age 35 improved sharply to the highest level since October 2000. Confidence amongst those aged 35-54 years also rose to the highest level since October. Working lower was confidence amongst respondents over age 55. It declined to the lowest level since May 2014.

The present situations reading for confidence overall increased 4.5% (7.3% y/y) to 118.3, the highest level in nine months. The expectations figure gained 7.6% (-8.9% y/y) to 84.5, down 12.9% from the January 2015 high.

The present situation improvement reflected a jump in the perception that business conditions were good. It also reflected a drop, however, in the perception that jobs were plentiful. Jobs were viewed as hard to get by a diminished 23.3% of respondents. The expectations figure increased due a rise in perception that business conditions would improve. Expectations that there would be more jobs firmed to the highest point since October, and an elevated percentage thought that income would increase.

Expectations for the inflation rate declined m/m to 4.7% and reversed increases since February. Higher interest rates were expected by 58.9% of respondents, remaining down sharply versus 72.6% in January.

Plans to buy a new home rose sharply to the highest level in six months. Major appliance buying plans, however, deteriorated. Intentions to buy a new car remained elevated.

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

Do Macro Variables Help Forecast Interest Rates? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Conference Board (SA, 1985=100) Jun May Apr Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Consumer Confidence Index 98.0 92.4 94.7 -1.8 98.0 86.9 73.2
  Present Situation 118.3 113.2 117.1 7.3 111.7 87.4 67.6
  Expectations 84.5 78.5 79.7 -8.9 88.8 86.6 77.0
Consumer Confidence By Age Group
  Under 35 Years 132.1 110.3 121.3 17.2 116.0 106.6 93.1
  Aged 35-54 Years 106.1 98.5 99.1 1.5 103.9 92.4 76.8
  Over 55 Years 73.3 77.5 81.8 -17.8 84.0 73.8 61.2
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