Wednesday, July 30, 2014

US Confidence Is Heating Up (excerpt)

While the latest batch of US economic indicators has been mixed, as I observed on Monday, consumers seem to be saying that the economy is heating up. That’s according to July’s consumer confidence survey conducted by the Conference Board. This survey is especially sensitive to labor market conditions, which are clearly continuing to improve. Let’s review the latest survey results:

(1) The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) jumped this month to 90.9, the highest reading since October 2007. Both the present and expectations components of the index moved higher.

The index is available for three broad age categories. July’s gain was led by rising confidence among 35- to-54-year-olds followed by the age cohort that is older than 54. Interestingly, while confidence among those who are under 35 has stalled in recent months, it is higher than for the older groups.

(2) The jobs-plentiful response rate rose to a cyclical high of 15.9 during July. That’s the highest reading since May 2008. The jobs-hard-to-get response rate remained at a cyclical low of 30.7. This series tends to be highly correlated with the official unemployment rate. It is also highly correlated with initial unemployment claims, which fell to the lowest reading since May 2007 in mid-July.

Today's Morning Briefing: Heating Up. (1) Consumers are upbeat. (2) Jobs are more plentiful, so they say. (3) Consumers also say jobs are less hard to get, as confirmed by jobless claims and jobless rate. (4) Underemployment may be depressing Yellen more than consumers. (5) Asia is hot. (6) Good news out of China. Not so good out of Japan. (7) Production at record highs in lots of Asian economies. (8) Asia is especially cheap compared to the Eurozone with its economic and geopolitical woes. (More for subscribers.)

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