1. Last Friday, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan reported that its consumer sentiment index
increased in May for the ninth straight month. That set a new record
for the most consecutive monthly increases in the history of the index
going back to 1978. It was also the most upbeat American consumers have
been in more than fours years, since October 2007 before the recession
started. Bloomberg reported that "A record number of households said they'd heard better news on the jobs
outlook, which combined with cheaper gasoline and an improving housing
market may help sustain consumer spending and shield the economy from
Europe's debt crisis."
2. This morning, Gallup reported that its Economic Confidence Index held at -16 last week, the highest index level in the four-plus years of Gallup Daily tracking in
the United States.
3. Also this morning
, The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index fell to a five-month low in May, as Americans were less optimistic about
current labor market and business conditions, as well as the short-term
What are we to make of these conflicting consumer confidence reports? Perhaps it's a reflection of the weakness in survey-based measures of consumer confidence, or that surveys have large margins of error?
In other news today, S&P reported that its Case-Shiller Home Price Index dropped in March by 2% to a post-crisis low. Note that the Case-Shiller home price index is calculated based on a three-month moving average with a two month lag and is therefore based on home prices in January, February and March. The sales and price gains I was reporting recently were for April, and those improvements won't be captured by the Case-Shiller index until next month's report.