Generating Rising Income from a Confident Consumer
Mainstream media constantly feature the views of critics of the consumer-driven domestic economy who warn that consumers are tapped out from paying too much for housing, taking on too much household debt, struggling with student loans, maxing out credit cards and craving a “new car smell.”
And yes, there are pockets of overextended people who are not prudent stewards of their finances. But if the charts don’t lie, then it stands to reason that the naysayers are simply disgruntled socialists who refuse to see the prosperity flowing within a free market economy. Consider the healthy uptrend in quarterly tracking data that portrays consumer confidence, spending, saving and management of debt.
The reality is that consumer spending in the United States increased to $11,655 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 from $11,569 billion in the third quarter of 2016 (source: Tradingeconomics.com — United States Consumer Spending). Even during the first quarter of 2016, when several countries saw their sovereign 10-year bonds trade with negative yields and the operating phrase of the day was “global deflationary spiral,” retail sales posted higher growth from the seasonally strong fourth quarter of 2015. That feat is remarkable given the super-bearish tone of the stock market that saw the S&P 500 shed 14% in value from January to March 2016, preceded by the Brexit-related sell-off in the August-October time frame (see chart below).
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