Consumers Are Enthusiastically Spending

J: By far the longest-running survey of the way that consumers feel about their economic position and the future are those that have been conducted since 1946 by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. On October 13, they stunned all of us who follow their data with the news that the preliminary index for October was 101.1 (March 1966=100). Not only was this an enormous leap from the 95.1 level of September, it was also the highest level since January 2004. The chart shows just how extraordinary such a high reading on this index is. The Chief Economist for these surveys, Dr. Richard Curtin, described these results as being "as good as it gets." Such an elevated level o

JFS in the WSJ Again

L: Jim is a member of the economic survey panel of The Wall Street Journal. As part of that survey there are opportunities to add 10-word comments to some of the forecast answers. Occasionally one of these comments makes it into an article. Today that article is online. It's possible it will show up in the print edition tomorrow. We both think it's very cool when he gets a WSJ mention. Here's the section that includes the quote: The latest poll found 56 out of 59 respondents, or nearly 95%, saying the Fed would next raise its benchmark short-term interest rate in December to a range between 1.25% and 1.50%. That’s an increase from last month’s survey, when just over three quarters of e

ISM Indices Suggest US Economic Growth Is Accelerating

J: The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) in Tempe, AZ gave us two phenomenally strong pieces of good news this week. On Monday, October 2, they told us that the PMI (L: formerly the Purchasing Managers' Index but now it only gets referred to as PMI) for September 2017 hit 60.8 percent, the highest level since May 2004. That was an unexpected jump from 58.8 percent in August. A PMI above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing sector is expanding. An index above 43.3 percent indicates the overall economy is growing. The PMI has been above 43.3 percent for 100 consecutive months. The PMI level of 57.1 for the first nine months of 2017 is consistent with real GDP growth of 4.4 per

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