Consumer Confidence Climbs to Pandemic-Era High

The 12.7 point surge in consumer confidence to a pandemic-era high attests to what you can see in any newly reopened restaurant or uncancelled sporting event: things are trending back to normal.

Another Step Closer to Normal

U.S. consumer confidence shot up more that 12 points to 121.7, handily exceeding consensus expectations. The level for this bellwether for consumer spending stood at 132.6 in February 2020, just before COVID was designated as a pandemic the following month. The high for the prior cycle, reached in October of 2018, was 137.9. If consumer confidence can match the magnitude of the April increase again in May, it would roughly split the distance between these peaks. In short, as more people get the vaccine and life gradually returns to something reminiscent of normal, confidence is swiftly returning to where it was before the pandemic. March economic indicators largely exceeded expectations; admittedly with some exceptions in the manufacturing sector where comparatively modest gains were a function of supply chain hiccups. The key question is the extent to which the robust consumer recovery will continue as stimulus checks no longer pad disposable income for households. On that score, this better-than-expected gain is encouraging.   READ FULL ARTICLE>>