Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jobs Boosting Consumer Confidence (excerpt)

The Conference Board’s survey of consumer confidence does a good job of picking up trends in the jobs market. I particularly like to monitor the “jobs plentiful” response rate. It rose to 12.7% in January, the highest since August 2008. The “jobs are hard to get” response fell to 32.6%, the lowest since September 2008. The difference between the two is highly correlated with the “present situation” component of the Consumer Confidence Index, which rose to a new cyclical high in January.

We all know that the drop in the unemployment rate since 2010 has been partly attributable to a decline in the labor force participation rate. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate remains very highly correlated with the “jobs hard to get” response. The latter suggests that that jobless rate continued to fall in January from December’s 6.7% reading.

Today's Morning Briefing: State of the Union. (1) The state of emerging economies is not so good, but the crisis may be abating. (2) The state of the US economy is quite good. (3) The US carries a lot of weight. (4) Employment indicators are upbeat. (5) Jobs more plentiful. (6) Regional and small business surveys show hiring and job openings. (7) Factset survey shows no increase in capital spending. (8) R&D and software may be reducing need to expand physical capacity. (9) Orders for both industrial and metalworking machinery at record highs. (10) Focus on overweight-rated S&P 500 IT sector. (More for subscribers.)

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