Tag Archives: consumer confidence

Bernanke comments on happiness

An excerpt from Ben Bernanke’s speech at the University of South Carolina Commencement Ceremony, Columbia, South Carolina, May 8, 2010: Notwithstanding that income contributes to well-being, the economics of happiness is also a useful antidote to the tendency of economists to focus exclusively on material determinants of social welfare, such as the GDP. GDP is not itself the final objective of policy, just as an increase in income may not be a good enough reason for you to change jobs. Obtaining broader measures of human welfare is challenging,… Read More →

Confidence is climbing

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index™, which had improved considerably in April, posted another large gain in May. The Index now stands at 54.9 (1985=100), up from 40.8 in April. After two months of significant improvements, the Consumer Confidence Index is now at its highest level in eight months (in Sept. 2008, it was at 61.4). This is a big enough bump in consumer attitudes that we can be pretty sure it’s not just a temporary blip. Although consumer confidence isn’t the only thing to worry about, it… Read More →

Consumer spending rebounds

The economy contracted at a 6.1% annual rate in the first quarter, which was a little more than the 4.6% decrease in real GDP expected by economists. The best news in the B.E.A. report report was the rebound in Personal Consumption Expenditures during the first quarter. Consumer spending grew at 2.2% during the first quarter (see graph above) following two quarters of negative growth (-4.3% in 2008:Q4 and -3.9% in 2008:Q3), and was just slightly below the 2.27% average growth since 2001. REUTERS — There were some bright… Read More →

Consumer confidence is climbing

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index™, which had posted a slight increase in March, improved considerably in April. The Index now stands at 39.2 (1985=100), up from 26.9 in March. The Present Situation Index increased to 23.7 from 21.9 last month. The Expectations Index rose to 49.5 from 30.2 in March. Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: “Consumer Confidence rose in April to its highest reading in 2009, driven primarily by a significant improvement in the short-term outlook. The Present Situation Index posted… Read More →

Conflicting consumer confidence reported for January

Two separate indexes are maintained regarding consumer confidence. One is reported by the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers and the other by the Conference Board. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index™, which had decreased in December, inched lower in January and continues to be at a historic low. The Index now stands at 37.7 (1985=100), down from 38.6 in December. The Present Situation Index declined slightly to 29.9 from 30.2 last month. The Expectations Index decreased moderately to 43.0 from 44.2. HOWEVER, the University of Michigan Index… Read More →

Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

Recently finished the book entitled “Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior.” A quick read that makes some interesting points about irrational behavior; something I knew little about of course! The main point of the book is that we all act irrationally from time to time (some of us lots of the time) and there are predictable forces that cause us to act irrationally including the following: Loss aversion – this is a form of playing not to lose, making decisions in order to cut our losses, or… Read More →

These are the good old days…

Interesting commentary from Jeff Jacoby in yesterday’s Boston Globe (click here). Goes back to the adage of whether you consider the glass half full or empty, or just another thing to wash! There are a lot of comparisons in the media of today’s economic conditions to the inflationary 1970s and even the Great Depression and the 1930s (see shaded areas below). The chart below shows the annual Misery Index from 1930 to 2008, calculated as the sum of a) the CPI inflation rate and b) the unemployment rate…. Read More →

Increase marketing now!

It really has been an interesting week of economic news: Real GDP growth has been better than expected (good). Real personal disposable income grew at highest rate in months in April (good). Consumer confidence dropped for a fourth-straight month to 59.8, the lowest since 1980 (bad). Unemployment’s only running at 5% while interest rates are quite low (good). One-year inflation expectations grew to 5.2% (bad). Falling housing prices continue to be a significant source of down-side risk to the economy (bad). The EIA is forecasting gas prices below… Read More →

Latest consumer confidence data

An adage among economists is that recessions are crises of confidence. Consumer confidence tumbled to its lowest in 28 years this month, a survey showed on Friday, as short-term inflation expectations reached the highest levels since the stagflationary early 1980s. The news heightens the dilemma for the Federal Reserve, which has bet that slowing economic growth will tame inflation pressures. The report also showed that lower-income households were the focus of the downturn in sentiment. The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers’ preliminary index of confidence fell to… Read More →

Mother's Day Projections

Here is a scoop on a news release coming out today by our Texas AgriLife Communications Team: Experts Say Things Looking Rosy for Texas Floriculture This Mother’s DayAuthor: Paul Schattenberg While research shows U.S. consumers expect to spend a bit less on Mother’s Day this year, that likely will not affect the purchase of cut flowers and flowering plants for moms in Texas, according to industry experts. According to the 2008 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation, Americans expect… Read More →