Today in confounding economic news: Consumer confidence in April clocked in at 92.6, its lowest level since last November, and only one in four Americans believes that jobs are plentiful. But at the same time, personal spending surged 1% in April, the highest rate since August 2009, and personal income increased 0.4%, the Commerce Department announced today.
So, how should we feel about these seemingly mixed messages? Reactions varied:
• Modest optimism: “I come down on the side of the spending figures, as it always makes sense to follow the actual dollars,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC in New York, said in his research memo.
• Agnosticism: “The net result is no clear direction,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote to his clients.AH