Long time readers know I am a fan of Barron’s, and frequently reference
the usually fine Econoday updates of daily economic data. But the NYT’s Floyd Norris points to what can only be described as the single most absurd commentary on Sentiment data you will likely read in your lifetime.
"Consumer confidence is unusually low, at its fifth all time worse reading in 40 years of Conference Board data. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index literally plunged in June, down nearly 8 points to 50.4. The expectations component is at a record low of 41.0, down more than 7 points, with the present situation at 64.5, down nearly 10 points for its worst reading since the early part of the ongoing expansion in 2003. But there is an expansion still underway and this is not a time of war, which makes the results difficult to figure."
Normally at this point in our conversation, I would be railing about whether the economy is expanding, given the negative readings in jobs creation, manufacturing, income, and consumption, and how understated inflation makes GDP look better than it is regardless.
But considering that this is not a time of war, I must have another explanation. It seems I have fallen thru a tear in the fabric of spacetime into an alternate universe. Back in my universe, where the US is likely in a recession, there is also two wars going on, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
This tear in the fabric of spacetime does explain some of the more absurd commentary we have heard over the past few years: That the credit crisis is contained, or the economy was doing well, that real estate has bottomed, etc. We are simultaneous inhabiting two separate universes, one where everything is going swimmingly — and this one.
The disagreements about the state of the economy, the housing debacle, and the credit crisis seem to come about when someone from THAT universe — the one where the economy is expanding and there is no war — accidentally falls into OUR universe — but keeps discussing their universe.
Other than that, I can find no other explanation for the Barron’s Econoday commentary. Can you?
We’ll have more on Sentiment data later today . . .
NOTE: This data is not te same commentary found in Barron’s the weekly financial magazine, but rather, is via Econoday, which feeds some data and commentary to Barron’s. Its not the sort of thing you can blame Rupert Murdoch for . . .
Are We Too Gloomy?
War? Recession? Not Here
June 25, 2008, 3:41 pm
Consumer Confidence 10:00 ET
Barron’s Econoday, June 25, 2008