Consumer mood improves


The Gallup Consumer Mood Index reached -50, its highest reading all year, and there was a modest bump in daily spending as well. Is it a trend, or is it attributable to warm feelings about Mom?

To put the -50 in perspective, the same category rated -61 a week ago, -75 a month ago, -101 six months ago and -103 a year ago. It is the best reading since February 2008.

The Monitor of Consumer Spending weighed in at $63, which beat last week’s $56 and last month’s $55. It stood at $99 six months ago and $114 a year ago.

The Consumer Worry Index was also at a low for the period, slightly, at 33. That compared to 34 the prior week, 35 a month back, 42 six months back and 37 a year ago.

People still think things are getting worse, but that outlook is also at a new low, registering on -16%, compared to -24% a week ago and -29% a month ago. It was the best reading in the category since January 2008.

Gallup noted that there are a lot of challenges ahead, and job creation and consumer spending need to pick up. “Still, consumer psychology has always played an important part in how consumers and businesses behave. In this regard, one can hope that the modest improvement last week in consumer spending and new job creation signals a change in behavior in response to the surging consumer mood of the past couple of months, and not just a Mother’s Day blip.

RBR/TVBR observation: We’re not sure that we can optimistically whistle our way to an economic recovery, but mood is important. If enough people start to regain a sense of security, maybe we can start to turn this thing around.