American consumer confidence hit its highest level in 16 years amid a recovering labor market and job growth, Reuters reports.
Reuters also reported that the goods trade deficit had shrunk, as well, “indicating the economy was regaining momentum after faltering at the start of the year.”
Marketwatch reported that the consumer confidence index hit 125.6 in March, up from 116.1 in February and well ahead of the forecast number of 114.1.
JP Morgan economist Daniel Silver told Reuters he expects economic activity to pick up shortly.
“It looks likely that the recent spending data were held down by some temporary factors related to unusually mild weather and a delay in tax refund issuance,” he said.
The 125.6 consumer confidence index reading was the highest in the post-9/11 era. The last time it was so high was in December 2000, before the dot-com bubble burst.
Breitbart reported that the biggest jump was from middle-earner households — those that make between $50,000 and $75,000 a year. They scored a confidence number of 135.2, up from 100.4 before the election. The only group less confident from the election until now is households that earn under $35,000.
However, some economists pointed out that the data was collected up until March 16 — before the failure of the American Health Care Act.
“The question then is whether or not consumers will remain upbeat if legislation stalls,” Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors, told Reuters. “At some point, those hopes for a stronger economy will fade if legislative victories remain elusive.”
That seems unlikely, given Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. The divisions in the party over repealing Obamacare aren’t likely to be repeated on other major issues.
Meanwhile, the consumer confidence finding only points out how much Americans as a whole are expecting better times ahead.
Yes, that’s right — yet more winning for the GOP and the Trump administration. And the media’s being very, very quiet about it, the same way it was quiet about a better-than-expected February jobs report.
Now, of course, it’s hard to tell how much of this is directly attributable to the president and Congress, although it certainly doesn’t hurt that both have made jobs and economic growth two of their biggest priorities.
However, given that we were promised economic apocalypse by the left when Trump was elected and the Republicans maintained both houses of Congress, it’s certainly satisfying to see quite the opposite happening.
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