This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 2, 2018:
Three more measures of how the U.S. economy is performing once again beat economists’ forecasts: consumer confidence, jobless claims, and manufacturing. Tuesday’s release by the University of Michigan of its monthly “Survey of Consumers” showed all three of its indexes notching highs not seen in years. Its Index of Consumer Sentiment (“How are you feeling about your finances today?”) hit 99.7 compared to January’s robust 96.3. That is the second-highest level since 2004, reflecting, according to the survey’s chief economist Richard Curtin, consumers’ “favorable assessments of jobs, wages, and higher after-tax pay … overall, the data signal an expected gain of 2.9% in real personal consumption expenditures during 2018.”
The forecasters in this instance nearly got it right. The consensus reported by the Wall Street Journal expected 99.5. But that’s about as close as any of them got.
The U of M’s Index of Current Economic Conditions (“How does the economy look to you from your personal perspective?”) also beat expectations,