Consumer confidence, general business activity

Confidence Board

The US conference board consumer confidence data was released overnight.

You’d never know joblessness was amongst the best it has ever been!

Now consumers are miserable when inflation is high, and at the moment, it is very high, so the graphs are readily interpretable in that light, as opposed to indicating that we are on the cusp of a recession.

To me, a recession will need the unemployment rate to tick up, quits to move down, and other labour market indices (vacancies) to moderate.

It’s also hard to get excited about a recession without a more meaningful slowdown in US housing markets, which means prices rolling over, starts declining and inventories building.

That all may well happen, it just hasn’t happened yet.

By the same token, the stock market, despite having dropped 20% over YTD, isn’t yet pricing a recessionary outcome.

Business activity

To go with the downbeat consumer, the downcast trajectory of activity is a worrying combination. Energy prices, and rates, working their destructive magic. Oil, which looks magnificent > $100 to company cashflows, setting the seeds of its own destruction here.

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