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Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tuesday's strong consumer confidence report from the Conference Board wasn't the only good news about U.S. consumers. Data are beginning to show more Americans are getting more comfortable with returning to regular pre-pandemic activities.

Driving the news: Morning Consult's "Tracking the Return to Normal" series reveals all-time highs in consumer comfort across activities including dining, entertainment, sports and more.

  • 60% of the public now feels comfortable dining out, a record high for the series that began record-keeping in March 2020.
  • 53% of Americans feel comfortable going on vacation, a record since tracking began in April 2020.

Yes, but: Progress may be stalling out, according to the data. Though Morning Consult's surveys on vaccine skepticism have declined for four straight weeks in the United States, progress has stalled, with 34% of respondents saying they won't get vaccinated.

  • And while 46% of respondents say they are ready to go out to a restaurant now, 17% say they will not be ready for two to three months and another 12% say it will be six months or more before they are comfortable dining in a restaurant.

ICYMI: Consumer confidence rose sharply for the second consecutive month in April, up 12.7 points to 121.7, following an 18.6 point increase in March.

  • Economists at Nomura note that the consistent improvement is in line with not only new stimulus measures from the government but also increasingly strong readings on the jobs market and vaccinations.

What they're saying: "We expect those factors to continue to support strong consumer spending over the near-term, although the composition of spending will likely shift towards services as re-opening accelerates," Lewis Alexander, Nomura's U.S. chief economist, says in a note to clients.

  • "The labor market differential — the gap between those reporting jobs 'plentiful' versus 'hard to get' — rose sharply by 16.7 points to 24.7, a significant improvement despite remaining below its pre-pandemic level of roughly 35."

What's next: The strong consumer confidence numbers along with recent drops in initial jobless claims suggest "another very strong month of [nonfarm payrolls] growth and further declines in the unemployment rate," Alexander says.

  • Nomura is expecting U.S. real GDP to increase by 8% quarter over quarter in Q2.

Go deeper

Americans are charging more than it seems

Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

Credit card balances recently ticked higher, but remain well below pre-pandemic levels. However, consumers are charging much more than those balances might suggest.

Why it matters: Higher credit card balances are considered a rough proxy for spending activity and consumer confidence.

Biden says presidency "will be determined" by outcome of spending plans

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
34 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China declines to speed emissions cuts in new UN pledge

A view of the skyscrapers in the haze in Shanghai, China, in December 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese leaders are sticking with a prior target to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, according to documents filed with the United Nations Thursday under the Paris climate agreement.

Why it matters: The new documents come just days ahead of the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its emissions path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris agreement can remain within reach.

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