Sifting Through Irrelevant Data

It seems like the economy has been shuttered for ages, but the reality for most of us is closer to three weeks. That means the economic data isn’t fully reflecting the present reality. Yesterday, the Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level since July 2017, but remained elevated relative to the historical standards. The future expectations index plunged from 108.1 to 88.2, but oddly enough the present situation index remained robust, only slipping from 169.3 to 167.7. This is actually the highest March reading for present conditions in 19 years. Granted, the survey cutoff date was 11 days earlier on March 19 when concerns were just beginning to mount, but it’s still remarkable to witness how quickly the picture has changed from partly sunny to complete overcast.

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