Americans are mostly confident about the economy and hiring, trends that could fuel economic growth in the months to come.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index reached its highest point in nine years in September, while a separate survey by the University of Michigan also rose that month.
That optimism contrasts with the gloomier perspective that is more common in broader surveys about the country’s direction. Those polls typically find a large majority of Americans think the nation is on the wrong track.
Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, argues that broader polling is likely skewed by Americans’ political views. Specific questions about Americans’ economic experiences, like those in the confidence surveys, are probably more accurate readings on the economy, he concluded. The Conference Board also asks whether jobs are “plentiful” or “hard to get.” In September, 27.9 percent said they were “plentiful,” 6.3 percentage points higher than “hard to get.”
That gap averaged minus 3.8 in 2015 and minus 15.6 in 2014, according to High Frequency Economics, evidence that Americans are now much more optimistic about hiring.