A Worrisome Drop in Consumer Comfort
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell 1.9 points last week, its third decline in a row, to 59.1, its lowest level since
April. All three index components fell, extending the sizeable drops in the previous week. The three-week cumulative
decline in comfort was the biggest since May 2012. Comfort deteriorated across all regions, all demographic groups, and
most income categories.
The decline is disturbing, as it may translate into weaker consumer spending growth ahead of the holiday shopping
season. This is important because consumer spending has been one of the strong pillars of this expansion, in contrast to
outright declines in capex this year. For now, however, the longer-term trend of comfort, as well as other measures of
consumer attitudes, support an ongoing economic expansion.
Jobless Claims Decline
Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 8,000 last week to 211,000, below the consensus of 215,000. The four-week
average of claims edged up 250 to 215,250. Both the headline and the smoothed number of jobless claims remain close
to their lowest levels since 1969, as businesses hold on to their workers in a tight labor market. As long as layoffs remain
low, the risk of recession will also be limited.
Used Vehicle Values Fall Y/Y
The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index ticked up 0.3% in October from the previous month, but it dropped 0.4% from a
year ago, posting its first y/y decline since January 2017. It suggests downward pressure on the CPI for used cars and
trucks over the next few months
Source: Ned Davis Research Group (Note: I'll try to post news like this more often. I get reports every day...)
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