The half-full economy

If the economy is getting worse, how come people are feeling better?

Just days after people pushed back from the Thanksgiving dinner to rush out to buy stuff they probably could live without, The Conference Board reports today that consumer confidence is now at its highest point in the last four-and-a-half years.

The job market is improving and people are spending money again, the Associated Press reports…


The report also supported the findings of a separate survey from the University of Michigan released last week, which showed consumer sentiment at a five-year high. Still, both surveys increased at slower rates than the previous month.

Americans are growing more optimistic because they see the job market getting improving, the Conference Board said. Employers added 171,000 jobs in October and more jobs were created in August and September than first thought.

Also this morning, Standard & Poor’s reported that the Minneapolis area recorded its sixth straight month of home resale price increases. That hasn’t happened since 2005.

In fact, the Case Shiller Index for September puts the region near the top…

CITY
CHANGE FROM AUGUST
Las Vegas
1.4%
San Diego
1.4%
Minneapolis
1.1%
Phoenix
1.1%
Los Angeles
1.0%
Detroit
0.7%
San Francisco
0.5%
Denver
0.4%
Atlanta
0.3%
Seattle
0.3%
Dallas
0.2%
Portland
0.2%
Miami
0.1%
Tampa
0.0%
Washington
0.0%
New York
-0.1%
Charlotte
-0.3%
Boston
-0.6%
Chicago
-0.6%
Cleveland
-0.9%

In the nation, home prices are up almost 4 percent from a year ago.

Good times, indeed.

Meanwhile, the stock market indices are all off. It’s a half-empty crowd.

  • jon

    The people who “control” the daily changes in the stock market (i.e. people who trade frequently at fairly high volumes) aren’t representative of consumers, home owners, or workers.

    Their opinions really shouldn’t hold much weight, but we measure their opinions every minute of every day.

    Consumer measurement come out monthly.

    Same with home values…

  • Kevin Watterson

    What jon said. With the rise in hedge funds and electronic trading, it is long passed time we stop putting any weight in the day-to-day fluctuations of the stock market.

  • Robert Moffitt

    Who says the economy is getting worse? I mean, now that the election is over…