Mind the gap...the rift about consumer confidence
Consumer confidence has been on the rise in recent months, but another confidence report paints a darker picture.
“That’s one of the most interesting things that we’re seeing now,” explained Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board. “Consumer confidence and business confidence are really kind of out of sync.”
He believes the difference in outlook is happening because many trends that are benefiting consumers now can be problematic for business. The Board puts out the widely-followed Consumer Confidence Index. It also does a survey of CEO confidence, which finds that business leaders are getting more and more pessimistic about the economy.
For example, low oil prices are great for consumers, but problematic for American energy companies that previously profited from the U.S. natural resource boom. Additionally, consumers and CEOs focus on different things. Business leaders worry more about emerging markets and the Fed, which many Americans don’t follow as closely. Who’s right — people or CEOs — will determine the direction of our economy.