Jul 25, 2023 - Economy

Americans are getting more confident about the economy

Data: The Conference Board; Chart: Axios Visuals

A breakout of better feelings about the economic situation is underway this summer.

Driving the news: The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index jumped to 117 in July, up from 110.1 in June. That marks the highest level in two years and follows a similarly big surge from last month.

  • In particular, the firm's index of consumer expectations rose comfortably above the levels that tend to suggest a recession is imminent.
  • The share of survey respondents who said jobs are "plentiful" rose to 46.9% from 45.4%, while the number who said jobs are "hard to get" plunged to 9.7% from 12.6%.
  • Other measures of economic vibes like the University of Michigan survey have flashed similar signals.

What they're saying: "Headline confidence appears to have broken out of the sideways trend that prevailed for much of the last year," said Dana Peterson, the Conference Board's chief economist, in a news release.

  • "Greater confidence was evident across all age groups, and among both consumers earning incomes less than $50,000 and those making more than $100,000," she said.
  • "Expectations for the next six months improved materially, reflecting greater confidence about future business conditions and job availability."

The bottom line: It has been something of a mystery why polling data on the economy has remained in the dumps, even with a strong job market and falling inflation.

  • But maybe the real lesson is that it takes time for peoples' perception of the economy to catch up to what the numbers show.
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