US consumers

James Politi

Survey data always needs to be taken with a grain of salt. What people say they will do – or how they feel – does not always correspond to their actions.

But there is little doubt that many Americans, including both average consumers and business leaders- are notably less confident about the economic outlook than they were earlier in the year.

The Conference Board today released its monthly report on consumer confidence, showing a plunge in September from 53.2 to 48.5, its lowest level since February. Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable also published its quarterly CEO outlook, and many American business executives expressed caution about hiring and investing.

Data from the regional Federal Reserve Banks have added to the downbeat mood in recent days, particularly when it comes to one of the drivers of economic growth during this recovery: manufacturing. The Richmond Fed today said manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region pulled back for the first time in seven months, Read more

James Politi

Are US consumers falling back into the same old spending patterns that got them into so much trouble in during the recession?

Data released today showed that the US savings rate fell to an eighteen-month low of 2.7 per cent in March, as Americans spent more than they earned: consumption rose by 0.5 per cent, much faster than a 0.3 per cent increase in personal income. Read more