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Data: The Conference Board, University of Michigan; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumer confidence continues to improve but remains well below the levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic despite the rebound in housing and equity markets, surveys show.

Driving the news: The University of Michigan released its latest consumer sentiment index Friday showing an overall small improvement that was the result of increasing optimism about the future and pessimism about the present.

What they're saying: "The Current Conditions Index recorded its second small reversal, the first being in June, but even at its best, it has never come close to its December peak, being still down by 26.5%," the survey's analysts said in a release.

  • "The Expectations Index, despite the recent gain, is still down by 14.4% from its February peak."

The state of play: Hamilton Place and CivicScience's Economic Sentiment Index found a similar divergence in consumers' attitudes about the economy in its latest survey.

  • Respondents showed notable improvement in feelings about their personal finances, confidence in making a major purchase and confidence in the housing market.
  • However, confidence in the overall U.S. economy declined, and confidence in finding a new job dropped as well. It was the first time either metric has been lower than the previous survey since July.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 8, 2021 - World

Food costs are rising all over the world

Data: UN FAO food price index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Year-end data from the U.S. and around the world show a consistent theme — steadily increasing prices.

Driving the news: The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index rose for the seventh straight month in December, rising to its highest in six years.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 25, 2021 in Paris. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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