American consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook improved considerably in September, with the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index soaring to 138.4 from 134.7 (smashing expectations of a dip to 132.1).
“After a considerable improvement in August, Consumer Confidence increased further in September and hovers at an 18-year high,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.
“The September reading is not far from the all-time high of 144.7 reached in 2000. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains extremely favorable, bolstered by a strong economy and robust job growth. The Expectations Index surged in September, suggesting solid economic growth exceeding 3.0 percent for the remainder of the year. These historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending, and should be welcome news for retailers as they begin gearing up for the holiday season.”
However, it is noteworthy that the number of people expecting income growth fell the most since April 2017…Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined from 25.4% to 22.6%, but the proportion expecting a decrease declined marginally, from 6.9% to 6.5%.
The gap between ‘Present Situation’ and ‘Expectations’ has widened to historically concerning levels, that have in the past preceded recessions…
Of course, as we have shown before, historically high confidence combined with low savings rates has been an ominous precursor for the stock market…