U.S. consumer confidence surges to 18-year high

“A measure of U.S. consumer confidence rose in October to an almost two-decade high, as Americans expected economic and jobs growth to power ahead despite recent stock-market volatility,” Sharon Nunn reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The Conference Board on Tuesday said its index of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 137.9 in October, the highest level since September 2000.”

“Americans’ assessment of present conditions remained positive, primarily because of strong employment growth, according to Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board,” Nunn reports. “‘The Expectations Index posted another gain in October, suggesting that consumers do not foresee the economy losing steam anytime soon,’ she said. ‘Rather, they expect the strong pace of growth to carry over into early 2019.'”

“The Conference Board’s October survey found the proportion of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the coming months declined and the percentage of consumers foreseeing an improvement in income prospects rose,” Nunn reports. “Despite an apparently slowing housing market and rising interest rates, the proportion of consumers who say they plan to buy a home in the next six months rose in October. A larger proportion of Americans said they planned to buy a car in the coming months.”

“Measures of how consumers feel about the economy climbed after President Trump was elected in 2016 and have been buoyed by strong economic growth, low unemployment and rising wealth. Gross domestic product grew at the fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter and continued to grow at a solid 3.5% annual rate from July through September,” Nunn reports. “The unemployment rate is 3.7%, the lowest level since 1969.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Strong and rising U.S. consumer confidence and high employment bodes very well for Apple which has unveiled a slew of new products, including iPhone Xs, Xs Mac, and XR, MacBook Air, iPad Pro, Mac mini, and more ahead of the all-important Christmas shopping season!

66 Comments

  1. Let’s return to the original topic: consumer confidence. This is a survey intended to gauge the near term potential buying habits of consumers. Anyone who understands the methodology knows it is a LAGGING INDICATOR of economic events and trends.

    In addition to the Conference Board, there is an additional survey to reference, the UM Consumer Sentiment survey. Here is a graph of its index going back to 1978:

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UMCSENT/

    As anyone with eyes can see, consumer sentiment has grown continuously from the valley in Q1 2009, the end of the Bush II crash. There was no sudden trend change when Trump walked into the White House, though obviously the right wing press went into orgiastic convolutions knowing they had a rubber stamp willing to pass any GOP legislative bill. So far the tax cut hasn’t really kicked in yet. You can all come back and tell us how much more take home pay you or your workers got for fiscal 2018. At least 2/3 of the corporate cut went into stock buybacks, in a vain attempt to buoy stock prices and preserve executive bonuses in the face of trade headwinds. You will soon see how easy it is to “win” trade wars.

    Look again at the macro consumer sentiment trend. You can see that there was a strong economic optimism trend all through the Clinton years. Bush II was unfortunate enough to preside over the 9/11/2001 disaster but he compounded the problems with reckless wasteful military spending, unfunded Medicare entitlement spending, and total lack of oversight of predatory lenders in the banking sector. Oh my, isn’t that what Trump proposes? Increased military spending, less regulation, no cuts to entitlements? How is he going to pay for this largesse?

    The trend in the UM index actually peaked in Feb 2018, and as Trump’s isolationist sabre rattling and tariff talk has quenched the 2017 tax cut sugar high, and markets have now erased the 2018 gains. Are we at a tipping point? Nobody can predict how trade wars will turn, but when the bottom falls out, which will happen eventually given the stupid short sighted fiscal path the US has been on for at least one generation, it ain’t going to be pretty. After the trade war crash, then consumer sentiment will fall. There is one space grey lining to the cloud however: maybe Apple will see fit to bring its sky high prices back to reality.

    You did notice that Apple bigly bumped up the prices on its Chinese assembled products? Why do you suppose that is? Because Apple has no competition? No, because Apple wants to leave room for product discounts that will be needed if the promised Trump tariffs bite hard.

    I suppose the Trumpanzee crowd assumes that self-imagined autocrat Trump will grant an exemption for Apple, picking winners and losers. Such market manipulation would never be acceptable under any prior republican administration, but these are interesting times.

    1. Mike, why couldn’t he grant an exemption for Apple?

      If he can repeal the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by Executive Order (as he says he can), why not the Equal Protection Clause? If you can’t give preferential treatment to some companies, industries, races, and religions—and disadvantage others—based on your personal preference without any basis in credible evidence, what’s the point in being President?

      The same goes for the Due Process Clause. If another clause can be repealed by fiat, why not the one that limits his ability to “lock her up,” and lock YOU up, without an indictment, trial, or any of those other libtard technicalities?

      Either you preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, or you make it up as you go along. If it’s the latter, let’s hope Apple is among the chosen. I doubt you or I will be.

      1. Indeed. Throughout his entire life Trump has repeatedly displayed ignorance and disdain for the rule of law. As an entitled spoiled brat who won the birth lottery, he actually thinks his daddy’s wealth entitles him to autocrat status in all matters private and public.

        The sham of a business council Trump attempted to use for a photo op has resulted in nothing. Trump is too ignorant and has too little attention span to listen to industry input. So he has turned down the advice of every experienced business leader as well as federal economists who could have provided him, at his disposal, the best business intelligence and statistics available anywhere. While Trump watches the bimbos on Faux News, he relies on Wilbur Ross to figure out how to run economy. The results look increasingly modeled on middle to late Ming dynasty isolationism, Great Wall and all.

  2. “Hint: “Support Our Troops” is promoting socialism.”

    Only a Libtard would confuse patriotism and nationalism with socialism. The U.S. is NOT a socialist nation just because taxpayers fund some programs. Get a grip…

    1. Hey goeber, you seem confused again. When arguing your point, you don’t get to selectively choose when socialism applies and when it doesn’t. When taxpayers fund it, a nonprofit government agency manages it, and citizens get basically equal access or benefit from it, then it is socialist. Roads, gps, municipal utilities, military, libraries, police, some schools and some hospitals—- all socialist economic mechanisms. All part of your country. If those entities are well managed by professionals and overseen by democratically elected representatives of the people, the results can be excellent.

      On the other hand you seem to think putting everything for sale to the highest bidder is a superior exonomic model. I wonder if you understand what that means. Would you truly prefer to have to pay a toll to a for-profit feudal undemocratic corporation for absolutely everything? that model has not worked well because citizens then have no voice, only rich corporate entities dominate political processes. Look how many industries have been consolidated into duopolies or defacto monopolies. The individual has zero voice against an unelected multinational corporation. As a Mac user, you can see how little Tim Cook cares about your wants and needs. You don’t have more freedom, you actually become a dependent on what corporate executives offer you. By distracting you with cheap entertainment, are you happier? Under democratic socialism, people do have a voice and they can choose health or safey or quality of life over profit maximization.

      Maybe you should visit us in the Netherlands to see how it works.

      1. Great insights, Poel!

        I’ll offer another analogy. Consider football: part of the ticket price fans pay to watch the game goes to pay the officials. Do you think the game would be fair or even fun to watch if there were no officials, no rule enforcement? Nobody would play the game as it devolved into bloodsport and fans would seek other entertainment.

        Some say the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. That’s ironic because money is an artificial construct — coins only signify trust. Holding bags of wealth is only useful if you can trust your neighbor to honor the value of your money — our money, the people’s money. People who repeat the bullshit that their money smells like roses and inferior people who aren’t in a position to line their pockets with massive weath must be defects to be ignored or worse. With great wealth comes great social responsibillity. Billionaires got rich overwhelmingly by self-serving business practices that quite often get outlawed eventually. Jay Gould: insider trading. Rockefeller: racketeering. de Beers: slave labor. Gates: monopoly abuse of power. The list goes on.

        Those who demand that greed is good and therefore unbridled capitalism with no rules and no bounds would be their ideal fantasy world always fail to explain why it is economically efficient to rely on people like Fuckerberg, Gates, Page & Brin, Musk, or inheritors of great wealth through no real effort of their own (Paul Allens’ surviving family, Laurene Jobs, Donald J. Drumph, Paris Hilton, etc) to control so much wealth that they have the health and well being of literally millions of people in their hands. These same people worship the US Constitution and law enforcement while backing views from the Trumpists and alt right that rules are too hard to follow and should be abandoned so we can make more money. Their personal heroes are CEOs.

        They fail to see that the modern corporation is feudalism, pure and simple. It is nondemocratic and it is not even recognized in the US Constitution. Because the artificial legal construct of a corporation exists primarily to make money, and specifically to make money for the good old boys at the top, while enduring into perpetuity, that means that wealth concentration allows these ruthless greedy few enormous powers which they use to manipulate poltiics, manufacture crises, distract the public, misinform voters, greenwash their pollution, scatter their labor, and launder their self-granted compensation.

        “But investors get a return” they will argue, “without financial reward nobody would work!” That again is bullshit. Does Tim Cook work harder or smarter if you give him $2 million or $25 million in annual compensation? Why? How much influence do investors really have on corporate boards? How many investors can name all the members on any corporate board in which they invest? Most investors can’t even name the companies in which they invest because Wall Street launders investments through complex financial vehicles specifically to distance investors from the actual work and actual risk. You are not allowed to see how the sausage is really made.

        Greed is not good. Economic self interest must be checked against the public good by efficient regulation that responds to the people. Socialism can be poorly implemented, or it can be well run, just like capitalism. But with unrestrained capitalism, you have pure feudalism and abuses of power with no recourse for justice. With democratic processes, checks and balances, then cooperative public/private partnerships, research, and grand projects and programs for the public good can generate benefits for generations of citizens. Corporations in a competitive environment sometimes do this, you can always find examples, but the trends are clear. Corporations don’t give a shit about national wellbeing. US corporate leaders sold out to China for cheaper labor and environmental law avoidance decades ago. Corporations like Apple hide billions overseas when they obviously have plenty of money to build stuff in its home country.

        The answer is not taxes on trade (tariffs). The answer is not to exempt undemocratic corporations from even more taxes. The answer is to ensure that all companies big and small have equal opportunity, globally consistent rules, incentives to hire locally, and severe punishments when they abuse the public trust. It means that big bad gvmint will have to be funded with competent managers and regulators, and it means that corporate regulation needs to become more comprehensive so slimy fat cats don’t win the economic game via foul play.

      2. It’s GoeB. Don’t be disrespectful.

        “As a Mac user, you can see how little Tim Cook cares about your wants and needs.”

        Yes, we agree 100% on that one.

        “On the other hand you seem to think putting everything for sale to the highest bidder is a superior exonomic model.”

        No, the lowest bidder wins.

        “Under democratic socialism, people do have a voice and they can choose health or safey or quality of life over profit.”

        First off the U.S. is NOT a socialist nation although Obama tried and failed for eight years. President Trump will have none of it, un-American and against our Constitution.

        What voice do you have? Pay the exorbitant high taxes or go to jail. Socialism by definition is wonderful in theory. But unlike many academic experiments it falls short of the promise in real life. Your socialist masters tell you what to think, what to do, what to pay and you say you have a voice. How nice, but it changes NOTHING.

        Visit the Netherlands? Well, thanks for the offer but I’ll pass. As a devout Catholic, leftist hedonistic obsessions such as open drug use and prostitution is not my cup of tea…

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