Current Situation vs Expectations Spread is Still Near All-Time Highs

Chart Current Situation vs Expectations Spread is Still Near All Time 2 19 20

With consumer confidence near recent highs, it’s a good time to examine the makeup of the survey data. The chart above displays two sub-indexes of the consumer confidence survey. The black line in the upper panel displays how consumers feel about the current economic situation. The gold line shows how they feel about the future. Since coming out of the most recent recession, consumers have increasingly felt more confident about their current situation than the future. This is not to say that consumers view the future pessimistically, but they are increasingly more confident in their present situation. Unfortunately, the spread of these two data sets typically widens before a recession and the spread (bottom panel) is currently approaching all-time highs.