According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, we’re “living under the Obama economy,” and each week he’s given a new reason to regret attributing it to him.
A new report from Bloomberg shows that consumer confidence is rebounding, reaching levels not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis. Furthermore, job growth in the first quarter of the year was the best since 2006.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (COMFCOMF) rose to minus 31.4 in the period ended April 1, the best reading since March 2008, from minus 34.7 the prior week. Filings for jobless benefits dropped by 6,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 31, the fewest since April 2008, the Labor Department said.
Employers probably took on more than 700,000 workers in the first three months of this year, the best quarter for job growth since 2006, a report tomorrow may show, while equities rallied the most since 1998. The improvements may support consumer spending in the face of rising gasoline prices.
“There’s a gradual acceleration underway in the economy,” said Michael Englund, chief economist at Action Economics LLC in Boulder, Colorado, and the second-most accurate forecaster of unemployment applications. “Today’s claims data and confidence reading put a positive spin going into tomorrow’s payroll report,” he said, projecting 210,000 jobs were created in March.
Like it or not, we are a consumer driven nation, and when consumers aren’t spending, the economy isn’t growing.
That also happens to be why the Republicans have been pushing austerity for the last year. When consumer spending bottoms out, the government has to step in to stimulate economic growth, and economic growth is bad news for Republican politicians while a Democrat occupies the White House.
Official numbers for March aren’t due out until tomorrow, but all signs point to it being good news.