May 6, 2021

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US Consumer Confidence Reaches 14 Month High, Home Prices Soar | Economic and economic news

US Consumer Confidence Reaches 14 Month High, Home Prices Soar |  Economic and economic news

U.S. consumer confidence jumped to a 14-month high in April as increased COVID-19 vaccinations and further fiscal stimuli allowed more companies to reopen, increasing demand and hiring from businesses .

An upbeat poll released Tuesday by the Conference Board suggests the economy is continuing to move forward early in the second quarter as the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations accelerates. The survey shows that the economy continued to grow after what appears to have been robust growth in the first three months of the year, considered by many economists to be the second strongest since 2003. This year’s growth is expected to be the best. in nearly four decades.

The poll also shows a sharp increase in American vacation planning.

“Consumers are seeing the light at the end of the COVID tunnel,” said Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio. “Driven by strong spending as families return to eating out, traveling and visiting shops, the economy is expected to accelerate starting in the second quarter and likely into 2022.”

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to a reading of 121.7 this month. This was the highest level since February 2020, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and followed a reading of 109.0 in March. It was the index’s fourth consecutive monthly increase.

Economists interviewed by the Reuters news agency had predicted that the index would rise to a reading of 113.0 in April.

The survey’s current situation measure, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, rose to a reading of 139.6 from 110.1 last month. But the expectations index, based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, businesses and labor market conditions, rose to 109.8 from 108.3 in March.

The United States has extended vaccine eligibility to American adults, and over a third of them are now fully vaccinated [File: Seth Wenig/AP Photo]

The United States has expanded vaccination eligibility to American adults, and more than half of that population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over a third of US adults are fully vaccinated.

Relieving anxiety over the virus and the White House’s $ 1.9 trillion pandemic rescue package have enabled greater financial commitment. Retail sales soared to a record high in March, and employers hired most of the workers in seven months. Companies are also investing in equipment to increase production.

Bullish views of the labor market

The Conference Board Survey’s so-called job market differential, derived from data on respondents’ views on whether jobs are plentiful or hard to get, jumped to a reading of 24.7, the largest in 13 months and increasing since March 8.

That measure is closely related to the unemployment rate in the US Department of Labor’s carefully watched employment report and suggested another successful job earnings month in April. The number of Americans filing new jobless claims has dropped to a 13-month low.

Federal Reserve officials meeting Tuesday and Wednesday are likely to acknowledge the improving economic climate, but the U.S. central bank is expected to keep its monetary policy stance extremely easy as employment remains 8.4 million jobs. work below its peak in February 2020.

The government snapshot of first-quarter gross domestic product on Thursday will likely show that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.1% during the first three months of the year, according to a Reuters poll of economists. This would be the second fastest growth rate since the third quarter of 2003 and would follow an expansion rate of 4.3% in the last three months of 2020 and an increase of 33.4% in the third quarter of last year.

The Conference Board survey showed that the share of consumers expecting an increase in income over the next six months rose to 17.9% from 15.4% in March. The percentage forecasting a decline fell to 10.9% from 12.6% last month. It also showed that more Americans plan to go on vacation in the next six months, with a share rising to 43.3% from 34% in February, when families were interviewed on the subject.

The US housing market is fueled by demand for more spacious home office and education housing and low mortgage interest rates [File: Mark J Terrill/AP Photo]

Many intended to fly to their destinations, mainly the United States. This could provide a powerful boost to the service sector, which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Consumers also expected to buy large items such as cars and homes, although fewer intended to buy major appliances than in March.

Strong home purchase intentions suggest that demand for homes may remain buoyant and continue to drive up prices as supply remains scarce. The housing market is fueled by the demand for more spacious housing for home offices and education. Demographics also point to a strong real estate market, with people aged 26-34 making up about 12.5% ​​of the US population.

“This suggests a significant breeze for demand as the average first-time home buyer is in their 30s,” said Brady Seitz, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

A separate report on Tuesday showed that the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index jumped 12% in February from a year ago, the fastest in 15 years, following an 11.2% rise in January.

Accelerating house price inflation was confirmed by a third report showing that the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s house price index rose to a record 12.2% year-on-year to February after a 12.1% increase in January.


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