November 27, 2012
Judging from this morning's lackluster trading activity, it may be hard to tell, but the Conference Board announced some very good news for the U.S. economy.
The Conference Board surveyed 5,000 households to determine how confident consumers were in both the current economic climate as well as their expectations for the future. These results were broken down into the Consumer Confidence index.
In November, the index climbed to 73.7—the best reading since February 2008! This also topped economists' estimates of 73.0. In particular, consumers were encouraged that the jobs market is picking up steam and that home prices are on the rise. Also remarkable is that 6.9% of respondents plan to buy a home within the next six months—the highest proportion since 1964!
This means that we are closer than ever to reaching a reading of 90—the benchmark that indicates a healthy economy. To put it into perspective, the last time we reached that level was nearly five years ago.
But considering how much ground we regained in the past year, I'm optimistic that we'll get there. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll let the data speak for itself.
I was shocked to see that since November 2011, consumer confidence has risen 34%! If you remember back to last fall, that was when the world's third-largest bond market (Italy) was on the brink of default, Greece was gridlocked over a debt deal and the U.S. was still recovering from the credit downgrade. This year, while we are still dealing with lingering deficit problems in the U.S. and tailwinds out of Europe, it is clear that consumers are in a better frame of mind to spend. And as I pointed out yesterday, this is very good news for the nation's top retailers and those who invest in them.