Apr 15, 2017

People feel better about the economy than their spending suggests

Gunnar Rathbun / AP

When it comes to the economy, people feel one way but act in a completely different manner. That's what the Wall Street Journal's lead story shows — that we are optimistic about the state of the economy, yet we're not spending money.

"Uneven retail spending stands in sharp contrast to soaring measures of consumer confidence. The University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment measure ... is near the highest level in more than a decade," WSJ's Eric Morath writes.

Why it matters: The election reportedly has something to do with this feeling vs. spending situation. Consumers steadily reported economic optimism since the 2016 election, despite Trump's delayed agenda thanks to a continued focus on replacing Obamacare. But, the hard data suggests these feelings aren't strong enough for consumers to support the economy with their hard-earned money — and that has retailers worried.

Fast facts: Thursday's results from the consumer-sentiment survey showed the index has risen to 98 (on a scale of 100). The survey measures consumers' optimism about the state of the economy and their personal financial situation. Meanwhile, in March there was a 0.2% decrease in sales among U.S. restaurants, and online and retail stores compared to the previous month. February had a 0.3% sales decrease.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 838,061 — Total deaths: 41,261 — Total recoveries: 174,115.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 177,452 — Total deaths: 3,440 — Total recoveries: 6,038.
  3. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with other health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  4. Federal government latest: The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.
  5. In Congress: New York Rep. Max Rose deploys to National Guard to help coronavirus response.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Misinformation in the coronavirus age.
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U.S. coronavirus updates: White House studies models projecting virus peak

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.

The state of play: The coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S. in two weeks, but many states like Virginia and Maryland will see their individual peaks well after that, according to a model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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