The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence survey showed how unpredictable human emotions can be. The survey closed on March 20th, 10 days after the banking crisis started and this series of events:
• 3/8 Silvergate (crypto) shuts down
• 3/10 SVB closed
• 3/12 Signature Bank closed
• 3/14 Moody’s downgrades entire sector, and puts six regional banks on review
• 3/19 USB-Credit Suisse shotgun wedding
• 3/20 First Republic down 90%, even after $30B cash injection
You would think that after all that, consumers would have sharply downgraded their assessment of the current conditions. But instead, they yawned, said “meh” and only marked it down from 153.0 to 151.1. And surprisingly they became more optimistic about the future with the expectations index rising from 70.4 to 73.0. The difference between assessments of the current situation vs. the future remains well into recessionary territory. In the same survey, the share of respondents saying jobs were plentiful declined while those saying jobs were hard to get increased. When this data peaks and starts to go down it indicates a weakening labor market.