Consumer Attitudes January 2018Submitted by Atlas Indicators Investment Advisors on February 6th, 2018
Americans continued feeling chuffed in January 2018 according to two popular measures of consumer attitudes. Consumer Confidence from the Conference Board jumped to 125.4 after the upwardly revised tally of 123.1 (originally 122.1). However, there was a small letdown in the Consumer Sentiment figure from the University of Michigan which moved down a touch, falling to 95.7 from 95.9 at the close of last year.
The anticipation of a bright future led the way for both indicators. Over at the Conference Board, the expectations component rose nearly 5 points to 105.5. Folks interviewed by the University expressed a similar enthusiasm for the likely prospects of subsequent months; their Index of Consumer Expectations rose to 86.3 from 84.3 in December.
Consumers seemed less sanguine about the here and now. Consumer Confidence’s present situation component fell over one point to 155.3; some of this decline came from an uptick in the number of respondents claiming jobs are hard to get. Consumer Sentiment’s current conditions suffered a slightly more substantial downtick, dropping to 110.5 from 113.8 in December.
These “soft” indicators (i.e., based on self-reported feelings, not behavior) remain constructive for the economy. They, however, do not produce anything, so Atlas will continue to monitor “hard” data points which measure actions within an economy. That being said, it seems reasonable to expect the economy to behave more favorably when its primary drivers (consumers) are feeling good.