The hellish rock bottom score used by Gallup to measure consumer economic sentiments is -200, so the -81 it recorded for the week ending 3/29/09 leaves a lot of room for additional souring. But the trend has been in the other direction – Gallup says that brings it in line with the admittedly sour mood before consumers learned of rotten AIGs and other such stuff in September 2008.
29% also thought during that week that the economy was beginning to improve. A week prior, Gallup only had 17% make that same statement.
Another bit of good news is that consumers appear to be putting their uptick in optimism where their wallets are – Gallup found that on average, consumers were spending $9 dollars more on a daily basis in the space of a week. That represents daily expenditures of $62 per day in stores, restaurants, gas stations, or online.
When it comes to jobs, 21% of these same consumers were happy to report that their companies were looking for full- or part-time workers. Unfortunately, 25% were unhappy to report that their companies were still cutting people loose, for a -4% result on Gallup’s New Hiring Index.
Gallup’s take on all this: “Although it is too early to tell for sure, Gallup’s Monitor of Consumer Spending shows a slight improvement, suggesting consumers’ economic outlook may be finally having some positive impact. Still, this positive development may be challenged in the days and weeks ahead as the Obama administration struggles with the continuing banking crisis and with the immediate need to take action in the auto sector.”
RBR/TVBR observation: Are consumers getting tired of being gloomy and indulging in a little of that good old Greenspanian irrational exuberance? Let’s hope so – we need to get some cash flowing to help jump start the recovery.