Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumer confidence picked up in the second half of August as confirmed coronavirus cases declined from record high levels.

By the numbers: Overall consumer confidence jumped 3.4 points in the past two weeks to 50.0 in the latest HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index, its highest reading since mid-March.

  • Confidence in the overall U.S. economy jumped 6.6 points to 52.8. 
  • Confidence in finding a new job rose 4.8 points to 40.4, while confidence in making a major purchase rose 3.3 points to 46.4.

A similar survey that tracks daily changes from data provider Morning Consult also found consumer confidence had risen to its highest since the pandemic began roiling the United States.

Why it matters: Closely watched reports from the University of Michigan and the Conference Board that survey consumers through the middle of the month have shown confidence stagnating at yearslong lows in recent months.

  • The new data suggest that the end of August marked a defined uptick.

Of note: While overall confidence has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, the HPS-CivicScience data show confidence in finding a job and in personal finances remain significantly lower.

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Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

Retail sales return to trend after coronavirus plunge

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the few economic readings sporting a V-shaped recovery is U.S. retail sales, which showed the highest monthly gains in history in May (18.3%) and June (8.4%), and grew in August by 0.6%.

On one hand: While the reading showed a significant slowdown, total retail sales in August were higher than they were before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., even when excluding food services.

Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.