Altruistica

"Altruistica": Seeking a return to full financial disclosure and regulatory oversight. A financial market analysis blog for "entertainment purposes" only by an experienced CFA seeking new hedge fund engagements for investment writing and analysis. The author has experience investing internationally, running a hedge fund, making angel investments, and helping launch five startup companies. Investors should do their own due diligence.

15 January 2007

Metrics 2.0 » "Manufactured" Economic Indicators: Consumer is FINE!

This presentation is truly amazing. Take a bunch of paid-for press on the "happy consumer" and ignore all the household stresses EVERYDAY people face: high inflation, high debt, frequent mystery charges of 21.75% by your ubiquitous credit card company, job losses in white collar industries, and big "help" from pharma (e.g. PPA) and tobacco (e.g. nicotine education).


Confident Consumers See Brighter Future in 2007: RBC CASH Index
(includes graph)
http://www.metrics2.com/blog/2007/01/12/confident_consumers_see_brighter_future_in_2007_rb.html
U.S. consumer confidence soared at the start of the new year, as Americans are feeling much more optimistic about their economic future than they were at the close of 2006, according the RBC CASH (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index.
Overall consumer sentiment increased more than eight points this month, as the RBC CASH Index for January released today by RBC Financial Group, jumped to 95.3, compared to 86.9 in December and 78.2 one year ago.

Highlights of the January survey results include: China Celebrates?

Consumers' economic outlook has skyrocketed during the past month, as seen in the RBC Expectations Index, which stood at 83.8 in January, a dramatic increase from December's 55.0.
31% of Americans believe their local economy will be stronger six months from now, up from 24% in December.
40% of Americans said they believe their personal finances will be stronger six months from now.
Consumers' evaluations of the current local conditions softened slightly during the past month, producing a one-point drop in the RBC Current Conditions Index, bringing it to 94.3 in January.
21% rate their local economy as strong (down from 26 per cent in December).
The RBC Investment Index for January stands at 83.2, a nearly one-point increase from the 82.5 level in December. Currently,
32% of consumers report they are more comfortable making a major purchase like a home or car, compared to 31% last month.
38% Americans reporting they believe the next 30 days will be a good time to invest in real estate, compared to 36 per cent in December.
44% of Americans believe the next 30 days will be a good time to invest in the stock market, a slight increase from the 41 per cent level in December.
Confidence in job security remained stable, with the RBC Jobs Index for January stands at 126.3, compared to 126.5 in December.
43% of consumers report they are more confident about current job security than six months ago
The RBC CASH Index is a monthly national survey of consumer attitudes on the current and future state of local economies, personal finance situations, savings and confidence to make large investments. The Index is composed of four sub-indices: RBC Current Conditions Index; RBC Expectations Index; RBC Investment Index; and, RBC Jobs Index. The Index is benchmarked to a baseline of 100 assigned at its introduction in January 2002. This month's findings are based on a representative nationwide sample of 1,002 U.S. adults polled from January 8 - 10, 2007, by survey-based research company Ipsos Public Affairs. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 per cent.

The entire RBC CASH Index report can be viewed at: www.rbc.com/newsroom/rbc-cash-index.html.

Related Commentary:

Consumers see brighter future in 2007 - BusinessWeek
Consumers Greet New Year with Confidence - CIO Today
US consumer confidence increases as expectations soar at start of the year - Yahoo! News (press release)
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Global Business Confidence Up For 2007 - India Tops at 97%; EU Ahead of US: Grant Thornton
http://www.metrics2.com/blog/2007/01/10/global_business_confidence_up_for_2007_india_tops.html
Includes:
..."Medium to large privately held businesses around the world are considerably more optimistic about the prospects for their economies in 2007 - with an optimism/pessimism balance percentage of +45%, up from +39% last year, according to International Business Report (IBR) from Grant Thornton International published today."...

Grant Thornton International survey:
http://www.gti.org/pressroom/articles/pr_01032007.asp
Individual Country Summaries:
NOTEs:
Please note that these summaries are currently from IBOS 2006.
IBR 2007 summaries will appear here in May 2007.
http://www.internationalbusinessreport.com/main/index1.php?page=54&lang=en&id=113556&cou...
This section allows you to download the country summaries in pdf format.
Please click on the country links.

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US Economy Adds 167,000 Jobs in December; Payrolls Rose 1.8 million in 2006
http://www.metrics2.com/blog/2007/01/05/us_economy_adds_167000_jobs_in_december_payrolls_r.html

Nonfarm employment increased by 167,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.5%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Over the year, payroll employment rose by 1.8 million. Average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents, or 0.5%, in December. The number of unemployed persons (6.8 million) was about unchanged in December, and the unemployment rate held at 4.5%. Over the year, these measures declined from 7.3 million and 4.9%, respectively.

Job gains occurred in several service- providing industries, including professional and business services, health care, and food services. Professional and business services employment continued to expand in December with a gain of 50,000. Health care added 31,000 jobs in December.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 167,000 in December to 136.2 million, following increases of 86,000 in October and 154,000 in November. Employment in financial activities was up by 153,000 over the year. In the past 12 months, food services added 304,000 jobs

In December, both total employment, at 145.9 million, and the employment- population ratio, at 63.4%, were little changed. Over the year, the civilian labor force edged up in December to 152.8 million.

More discussion around the web:

U.S. Economy Adds 167,000 Jobs, More Than Forecast; Income Growth Quickens - Bloomberg
US December non-farm payrolls up 167000, unemployment rate still ... - Forbes
Job growth accelerates to 167000 in December - MarketWatch
Job growth surprisingly strong in December - Reuters

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