The slight uptick in consumer confidence is welcome, but consumers remain relatively unenthusiastic overall.
The mood is improving, but progress is slow – not unlike the pace of growth in the economy itself.
Broadly, the story of the consumer is still two steps forward, one step back. Today’s release represented one of those forward steps, but the increase is incrementally positive in an otherwise subdued upward trend.
The survey indicated that more people believe jobs are hard to get, consistent with the lackluster growth that we see in the labor markets.
Consumers are very aware of the expectations for a lukewarm recovery and feel it individually as households continue to evaluate their personal financial circumstances, rebuild personal balance sheets, and carefully evaluate their spending habits.