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Business Review Board / Jun. 15, 2018

Consumer Confidence Soars

Economists adjust their expectations higher as retail sales numbers come in strong.

The economy is growing, jobs numbers are up, unemployment has hit its lowest level in half a century and as a result consumer confidence is soaring. The Commerce Department released its report on May’s retailers’ sales numbers, which rose 0.8%, the biggest one-month jump since last November. The Wall Street Journal reported, “The report far exceeded economists’ expectations of a 0.4% increase in overall retail sales and a 0.5% rise in sales excluding autos.” The Journal further noted that “the report suggests low unemployment, rising wages, and tax cuts are prodding Americans to spend. That, in turn, is boosting merchants’ sales while stoking stronger growth in the world’s largest economy.”

Economist Robert Frick of the Navy Federal Credit Union observed, “We may be entering a new level of consumer spending right now.” Does this signal an end to the Barack Obama-era “new normal” of sub 2% growth rates? J.P. Morgan seems to think so, as it recently upped its economic outlook for growth to 4%. James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute further explained:

All welcome news for an economy that’s been stuck around 2% since the Great Recession and Global Financial Crisis. Indeed, there hasn’t been a full year of 3% growth since 2005. Or look at it this way: There were 18 “hypergrowth” quarters of 4% growth or faster in the 1980s (1980–89) and 17 in the 1990s (1990–99), but just nine so far in the 2000s and 2010s combined.

What is clear is that Americans all across the nation are feeling the positive impact of the Republican tax cuts and President Donald Trump’s deregulation crusade. Consumers have responded and are confident about the direction of the economy. Democrats, eat your hearts out.

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