Why Consumer Confidence Is Higher Than It’s Been In Four Years

The following article has been written by Stella Walker. She is a freelance finance and marketing blogger for creditscore.net. Stella’s main fields of interest are personal finance, online personal finance platforms, and the business of web marketing. Feel free to send her some comments!

boy in capeConsumer Confidence

A recent consumer report continues the narrative of cautious optimism that’s held among Americans regarding the state of the US economy. The report, according to CNNMoney, states that consumer confidence as calculated by the Consumer Confidence Index is up to 73.7, up from last month’s Index of 73.1 and higher than any measurement taken since February 2008. Relatively speaking, that means that confidence is pretty high among Americans. What’s remarkable is that this optimism comes at a time when pundits, legislators, and journalists still question the future of the recovering US economy.

So why are consumers so confident?

Generally encouraging economic data

Economic data coming in over the last few months has generally been decent to better-than-expected by the standards of most mainstream analysts. From business spending to employment figures to earnings reports, it seems as though things are looking up. The stock market has been volatile ever since the conclusion of the 2012 presidential race, even in the face of positive economic data; some of this volatility might be attributed to the looming fiscal cliff crisis and the still uneasy economic situation in Europe. All things considered though, things look pretty promising for the US economy. Let’s check some solid figures.

More companies are hiring

Perhaps the most important economic indicator—if not the one most talked about during this election season—is the unemployment rate. In September the unemployment rate dipped to 7.8%, the lowest it had been since President Obama took office in 2009. Of course that rate went up slightly to 7.9% the following month, but overall indicators seem to point to a promising future for Americans looking for work over the next few months. Some of the more recent data points to further decreases in unemployment figures, though they must be taken with a grain of salt due to the holiday season and the areas in the northeast still affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Housing prices on the rise

Another real bright spot in the US economy lies in the housing market. Analysts were all but stunned at the most recent indices that indicate huge growth in this area. The most recent figures point to continued growth in the housing market that has thus far lasted for six months. Housing prices rose a huge 3.6% last quarter from the percentage the same time last year. Economists are citing low interest rates for mortgages as one of the key factors for the jump in prices and buyers. In other words, it seems as though Americans can be more than cautiously optimistic about the housing market.

End of a bruising presidential campaign

Finally, I’d like to include the end of the 2012 presidential campaign as one of the possible reasons why consumers feel so darn confident right now. The grueling election slog seemed to last forever: first the endless Republican debates and the subsequent primaries, and then the final stretch of the general election. Throughout the campaign season it seemed like many potential candidates and pundits were trying to paint the US as a country on the brink of economic disaster. That mindset might have done more damage than can be calculated in terms of affected Americans’ outlook on their own country.

With the uncertainty over, it seems as if people are hopeful that politicians can put their differences aside and really tackle the hard tasks that need doing. Bipartisan optimism notwithstanding, it appears that a majority of consumers are convinced that the country is going in the right direction anyway.

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About JW

Trader for 14 years. Series 7 & 63 licensed. Masters in Financial Management. Teacher of 100+ hours of financial education classes.

Comments

  1. I wonder, if part of the euphoria because we’re “post election” how long this lasts when we’re already hearing about Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Hilary Clinton already putting out feelers for the next cycle.

    • Those are all very strong candidates for the next election. It all depends on how well the next for years go. The FED recently announced that they will most likely not touch interest rates until unemployment dips below 6.5%. They don’t expect that to happen until 2015, which is incredible to me. Six years seems like plenty of time to get our economy growing.

  2. I guess I’m a part of the main stream consumer confidence 🙂 and you’re right, I do look at housing prices, sales and job unemployment. Like the rest I have felt more positive about our economy but not to the point where I think we’re out of the hole. If it were a hill we’re about 25% up and climbing. It’ll be interesting to see how our economy does in the next 4 years.

    • That’s exactly right John – how will the next four years turn out? Personally, I don’t think it should have taken so long to get to the point we’re at right now. The government should not have stepped in to “assist” so many times. Sure, we would’ve hit the ground harder, but it would have been a quicker recovery – not unlike pulling a band-aid off.

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  4. Charles E. Terry says:

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