Rasmussen: Consumer confidence hits two-year high

posted at 10:12 am on May 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After two years of recession and skyrocketing unemployment, the American consumer has begun to feel a return of pre-recession optimism, according to a new survey by Rasmussen. In the past week, consumer confidence has shot up eight points to hit a level not seen since February 2008, two months after the recession had begun but well before it turned into an economic collapse.  However, the optimism still seems limited:

The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, jumped six points on Thursday to its highest level since Feb. 5, 2008. At 91.1, the Consumer Index is up eight points over the past week, up nine points from a month ago, and up 17 points from a year ago.

Nationally, 35% of Adults say U.S. economic conditions in the country are getting better. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say they’re getting worse.

Sixty-four percent (64%) now say that the country is in a recession. That’s down four points from yesterday and is the lowest level measured since Nov. 4, 2008.

A separate survey finds that 37% expect the economy to be stronger in a year while another 37% expect it to be weaker.

That same effect was present in the first quarter GDP numbers, which came in at a slightly disappointing 3.2% annual growth.  As I noted at the time, consumer spending increased at an annualized 3.6% in 2010Q1, outpacing overall growth.  While it’s not explosive enough to create massive new amounts of jobs, it appears that Americans have stopped panicking about unemployment and have adjusted to current levels of joblessness as the new norm for now.

Even at 91.1, the confidence numbers remain weak.  Monthly confidence numbers peaked in the Rasmussen survey in February 2007, when it hit 119.8.  Investor confidence peaked at the same time at 143.7, while last month’s 94.9 was the best in the previous 18 months.  They both appear to be moving in the right direction, but not with much strength.

Tomorrow, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish the unemployment figures for April, which will impact the confidence numbers.  Today, the Department of Labor announced the third straight week of incremental declines in initial jobless claims, but the level is still too high to be generating any net increase in jobs:

In the week ending May 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 444,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 451,000. The 4-week moving average was 458,500, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 463,250.

The context for these declines can be seen in this graph of 2010′s initial jobless claims figures:

The green line is the seasonally-adjusted figure that is used for analysis.  That trendline still remains almost flat for 2010, and well above the 325,000 floor that most economists see as the break-even point for net job creation.  We’re losing too many jobs to make inroads among the large number of unemployed with any new jobs coming onto the market at the moment.  The expectation for tomorrow should be that unemployment remains at the March level of 9.7% or very close to it, with no appreciable increase in the overall employed figures.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The redhead is back, and boy does she have some bills to pay.

NaCly dog on May 6, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Right….consumer confidence is up.Someone should tell California….

sandee on May 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM

While it’s not explosive enough to create massive new amounts of jobs, it appears that Americans have stopped panicking about unemployment and have adjusted to current levels of joblessness as the new norm for now.

That’s not a good thing. We shouldn’t have to accept nearly 10% unemployment(and a much higher real unemployment rate) as normal.

What’s next? We’re told we need to accept a constant string of terrorist attacks as the new way of life….oh wait.

Doughboy on May 6, 2010 at 10:18 AM

They must have skipped over everyone where I live.

Johnnyreb on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Tax refunds

faraway on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Even with 600,000 census workers added?

BobK on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Who did they poll? Government employees?

Cody1991 on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Just like in a depression, if you have a job. . .

Skandia Recluse on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

People spending what they have left, driving straight into the abyss in a new Camaro with an HDTV in the trunk.

Bishop on May 6, 2010 at 10:20 AM

The redhead is back, and boy does she have some bills to pay.

NaCly dog on May 6, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Bills, shmills. Just walk away. The age of personal responsibility is long gone.

/s

anglee99 on May 6, 2010 at 10:20 AM

“…it appears that Americans have stopped panicking about unemployment and have adjusted to current levels of joblessness as the new norm for now.”

And we all know why there’s no panic or urgency. If this was the Bush administration, the lamestream media, (sans Paul “the lug” Krugman) would be writing daily how bad these figures are.

Rovin on May 6, 2010 at 10:21 AM

If everyone is so confident now, why are they not in my shop spending money, so I can get more confident and pay my back bills?

JamesLee on May 6, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Bills, shmills. Just walk away. The age of personal responsibility is long gone.

/s

anglee99 on May 6, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Why the /s tag? People are literally walking away*, and the age of personal responsibility is long gone at all levels. We ran our economy…our nation…on credit cards and IOU’s. Now the piper is finally going to be paid.

*Especially those in hopeless situations on their mortgage.

Dark-Star on May 6, 2010 at 10:22 AM

“THE RESULT OF LIBERALISM IS ALWAYS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF IT’S STATED INTENT”

justonevictory on May 6, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Tax refunds

faraway on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

That’s certainly a possibility. The wife and I got our income tax refund a couple months ago and a few weeks ago, we received a surprisingly high refund on our escrow payments. Not coincidentally, we felt comfortable trading in her Jeep for a new SUV now as opposed to a few months down the road as originally planned.

Doughboy on May 6, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Red was missing for a few weeks, so in her case I think a recent job downturn was quite UNEXPECTED. At least she found reprieve from the Ginger Genocide.

nocandidate on May 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM

I think with the stock market going down, those who were riding unemployment a few more months to let their 401K fatten up finally took the plunge. Those unable to retire have finally made a more stable economic arrangement, such as moving home with Mom.

Sekhmet on May 6, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Jobs??? Pay no attention per state to the 100′s of thousands of vacant store fronts, malls, office parks etc…. like NOTHING we have EVER seen before in our lifetimes! We are not buying this consumer confidence b.s.

justonevictory on May 6, 2010 at 10:32 AM

…What I have seen in dealing with my accounts,is many businesses that have slashed and cut expenses (jobs,advertising,buying goods etc…)to adjust to low levels of sales and minimal profits.
They are seeing an uptick in business which is good,but their profits are slim to none and the uptick is still 40%-60% less than where they were at a few years ago.

…they are basically adjusting their business practices to accommodate lower sales and thiner profits margins.

…now they are preparing for the major tax increases that are already in effect and the ones that are on the way with Obama’s legislation and the elimination of the Bush Tax Cuts.

…..These events have not produced any of my accounts to talk about “expansion” or ” adding jobs”….what a surprise!

Baxter Greene on May 6, 2010 at 10:36 AM

The expectation for tomorrow should be that unemployment remains at the March level of 9.7% or very close to it, with no appreciable increase in the overall employed figures.

I was laid-off on April 29th 2010, and while I’m just one single person I’m pretty sure that my advancing in reverse employment situation can be described as anything but an appreciable increase…

doriangrey on May 6, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Nationally, 35% of Adults say U.S. economic conditions in the country are getting better. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say they’re getting worse.

Sixty-four percent (64%) now say that the country is in a recession. That’s down four points from yesterday and is the lowest level measured since Nov. 4, 2008.

You’ve got to be kidding me. This is good news? This is an uptick in consumer confidence? More people think prospects are getting worse than those who think it’s getting better and ONLY 2/3 think we are in a recession.

Whoopee!

Just what is the baseline these days? Yeh, I know it’s low, after all we have a community organizer for POTUS.

fogw on May 6, 2010 at 10:47 AM

the American consumer has begun to feel a return of pre-recession optimism

Based on?

Eren on May 6, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Hmmm, I just got laid off by one of my clients on April 28. I am NOT feeling any confidence whatsoever.

lizzieillinois on May 6, 2010 at 10:51 AM

I am NOT feeling any confidence whatsoever.

lizzieillinois on May 6, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Neither is the stock market.

Johnnyreb on May 6, 2010 at 10:53 AM

My sister applied for welfare after her 99 weeks of unemployment ran out.

She won’t bother looking for work anymore – even if it is available.

VibrioCocci on May 6, 2010 at 10:59 AM

What consumers?

Oh, you mean those that depend on Mommy to pay their bills?

Sir Napsalot on May 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

The redhead is back, and boy does she have some bills to pay.

NaCly dog on May 6, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Can we start a fund to help this poor girl?
I hope she has an unlimited talk plan, or maybe she has a cash phone sex job on the side and is multi-tasking.

barnone on May 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Census director message to ‘600,000 new colleagues’

petefrt on May 6, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Excerpts from message with translations:

Our “customers” are those who have not yet been counted.

Translation: You must count illegals so Democrats can add to their voting block.

you must treat everyone with respect, even though not everyone will treat you with similar respect.

Translation: Watch out for those crazy right wingers who worship God and guns.

One of the interesting things in the job is meeting people you ordinarily would not know.

Translation: You would not know them because they are illegal and they don’t speak English anyway.

We are relying on you – to make sure we count everyone once and only once and in the right place.

Translation: Except when the person you are counting is a Democrat – then you can count him up to five times per day (please refer to your ACORN manual).

It’s an adventure; remember to enjoy that part of the job.

Translation: Make sure your life insurance is paid up.

VibrioCocci on May 6, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Actually, I think this is just pent up demand, not really a return to consumer confidence.

DaydreamBeliever on May 6, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Wonder if this relates to the falling GOP enthusiasm polls reported today?

AnninCA on May 6, 2010 at 11:11 AM

What happens when you remove Texas from that mix?

Nethicus on May 6, 2010 at 11:14 AM

As FDR found out, eventually the government handouts run out.

tarpon on May 6, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Sheep.

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You’d better watch out!
There may be dogs about
I looked over Jordan, and I’ve seen
Things are not what they seem.

That’s what you get for pretending the danger’s not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is not a bad dream.

Rae on May 6, 2010 at 11:25 AM

VibrioCocci on May 6, 2010 at 11:07 AM

I heard Census was running huge numbers through their training program — many more trainees than they had actual jobs for — just so they could count them OFF the official unemployment rolls.

petefrt on May 6, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Confidence in what exactly? The dollar? The unsustainable debt? The european socialists cascading debt crises not spreading throughout world markets? The continued rising cost in health deform? The Won’s attempt to take over Wall Street? The growth of unfunded government union entitlement liabilities?.

Just give me ONE FREAKIN’ THING to be confident about, I’m beggin’ ya.

ontherocks on May 6, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Just give me ONE FREAKIN’ THING to be confident about, I’m beggin’ ya.

ontherocks on May 6, 2010 at 11:40 AM

What’s happening in Greece, but here.

BuckeyeSam on May 6, 2010 at 11:42 AM

What’s happening in Greece, but here.

BuckeyeSam on May 6, 2010 at 11:42 AM

If that’s the type of confidence the pollsters were laying out in the polls, then I now get why vampire futures are doing so well.

ontherocks on May 6, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Hopefully the consumers are buying useful items.
A big screen TV won’t feed you or heat your home
during a cold winter under hyper-inflation.

elderberry on May 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

I run a workforce development organization in Minny, and I gotta tell ya, I’m not seein’ it.

We see mainly middle class folks and lemmee tell ya, their terrified that their never gonna find a good job again.

Anecdotal, you betcha’. But it’s a slice of my everyday world.

Bruno Strozek on May 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Why the /s tag? People are literally walking away*, and the age of personal responsibility is long gone at all levels. We ran our economy…our nation…on credit cards and IOU’s. Now the piper is finally going to be paid.

*Especially those in hopeless situations on their mortgage.

Dark-Star on May 6, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I was conflicted. I didn’t want to come across as advocating that behaviour!

anglee99 on May 6, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Oh no! The Redhead
Is back on the street, again.
Oh, cruel Obama!

Haiku Guy on May 6, 2010 at 11:56 AM

I was conflicted. I didn’t want to come across as advocating that behaviour!

anglee99 on May 6, 2010 at 11:54 AM

I understand completely.

Dark-Star on May 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM

BTW the line in not even, it is trending down.

Also my newspaper today had only two solid pages of Trustee Sales.

Happy days are here again!!!

jukin on May 6, 2010 at 12:10 PM

My question is, who will the sheep blame when the SHTF?

My outlook for a hyperinflationary great depression in the United States is unchanged; all that is unfolding now is some of the detail that should lead to that ultimate financial/economic disaster…
[...]
People just do not understand the calamity that is upon us, but what do you expect when the mainstream media keeps broadcasting that we are in a “recovery.” I do not know exactly how this is going to end, but for the unprepared, it will end badly.

Rae on May 6, 2010 at 12:17 PM

I am a skilled professional unemployed for four months.

I’m confident that this will continue.

Does that count as confidence in the economy?

Mr_Magoo on May 6, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Nationally, 35% of Adults say U.S. economic conditions in the country are getting better.

They should talk to my husband, who was just laid off. So much for seniority.

Beaglemom on May 6, 2010 at 12:38 PM

A few retail chains.. and CHINA..are quite pleased

V-rod on May 6, 2010 at 12:42 PM

I think at this point, I’m wondering how the price deflation will line up with the wage deflation.

Frankly, there’s no way that some of the services will be continued at the prices charged today. Forget it.

Looking for dollar menus.

AnninCA on May 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM

How many times has this been said over the last 9 months?

I got laid off in June, 2009 in California. I have yet to get a job. Is the Labor Pool getting smaller? Am I getting closer to getting a job? No! My co-worker from my previous employer was laid off two weeks ago. I have a number of friends who have gotten laid off in the last two months. The Labor Pool is getting bigger.

Now. Query me this: Who will employers hire first for the “new” jobs that are suppose to be picking up with this new consumer confidence? The ones who got laid off in the last two months or me who got laid off almost a year ago? I’m on the verge of losing my unemployment benefits. Am I supposed to be confident about spending money I don’t have?

That’s what I thought…ridiculous!

Sultry Beauty on May 6, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Unfair as it is, looks count for a lot, if you can manage to get a face to face interview.

Probably wouldn’t hurt if you temporarily transposed a couple of letters in your first name too./

ontherocks on May 6, 2010 at 1:13 PM

My question is, who will the sheep blame when the SHTF?

Rae on May 6, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Us.
Bush.
Haliburton.
Cheney.
Evil Rich Republicans.
Tea Partiers.
Militias.

Hell hath no fury like a modern American sheeple deprived of cell phone usage and American Idol. Anything below that doesn’t qualify as SHTF.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 6, 2010 at 6:16 PM

I guess that Dow roller coaster will fix this. Shame.

Jaibones on May 7, 2010 at 12:04 AM