Con­fi­dent con­sumers

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - BUSINESS -

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.

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