Here’s good news from the Conference Board on consumer confidence: “The Index now stands at 70.3 (1985=100), up from 61.3 in August. The Expectations Index increased to 83.7 from 71.1. The Present Situation Index rose to 50.2 from 46.5 last month.”
I don’t think these kind of surveys have a ton of predictive power, but all else being equal you’d obviously prefer them to be headed in the positive direction rather than the negative one. It’s difficult to know, however, how this kind of survey measures ties in with the presidential campaign. Is improving economic confidence bolstering Obama, or is Obama’s strength in the campaign rallying his supporters to give upbeat answers to consumer confidence surveys? The really good news here is that officials at the Federal Reserve appear to be coalescing around a strategy designed to keep expectations anchored around a trajectory of growth. That doesn’t mean great things are necessarily in store for the economy, but it does give me confidence that we’ll at least stay on a steady track of improvement.