Consumers And The Economic Outlook - US - January 2020
- January 2020
- Financial Services
- 0 pages
The numbers say that unemployment is down, GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is up, and consumer confidence is only down slightly compared to last year at this time. Economists would say that the economy is doing well. So then why is there still such hesitation? Today’s culture seems to tell a tale of two forces – one of facts and one of feelings.
The numbers say that the economy has recovered from the Great Recession of 2008, but how do consumers feel? The vast majority of consumers feel that their current financial situation is healthy or OK (see Current Financial Situation), but those making less than $50,000 per year are less confident about their finances.
When asked about the economy in the coming year, only 29% of consumers think that it will remain strong (see Opinions on the Economy). Consumers are hedging their bets and remaining cautious about the future.
"The majority of consumers consider their finances to be healthy, and views of the future seem to be positive as well. Consumers are saving for the future, but are still willing to treat themselves.
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Consumers are contradictory – want to both save and treat themselves
Non-essential spending remains non-essential
Consumers are not incredibly confident about the future of the economy
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
Figure 1: Key economic indicators as of November 2019
Unemployment hovering around 3-4%
Figure 2: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2009-October 2019
Consumer confidence not solely connected to unemployment
Figure 3: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2000 – October 2019
Figure 4: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2009-November 2019
GDP growth reflects positive advance for economy
Figure 5: GDP change from previous period, Q1 2009-Q3 2019
Yield curve dips, but quickly recovers – signaling the possibility of a slight recession
Figure 6: Yield curve, 2013-19
CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION
Consumers heading into 2020 with healthy finances
Figure 7: Current financial situation, November 2019
Consumer outlook on finances remains strong
Figure 8: Current financial situation, Q1 2017–Q3 2019
Older consumers feel the most stable, but generally “OK” prevails
Figure 9: Current financial situation, by gender and age, November 2019
USING EXTRA MONEY
Consumers are both saving and treating themselves
Figure 10: Using extra money, November 2019
Younger consumers are more self-interested; older look to the future
Figure 11: Using extra money, by age and gender, November 2019
Personal treats are the first expense to be cut
Figure 12: Spending cuts after income loss, November 2019
Women more likely to sacrifice, while men are more split
Figure 13: Using extra money, November 2019
FINANCES AFTER JOB LOSS
Nearly 30% of consumers would significantly struggle after six months without work
Figure 14: Financial situation after job loss, November 2019
Women more likely to feel they’re struggling after extended unemployment
Figure 15: Financial situation after job loss, by age and gender, November 2019
OPINIONS ON THE ECONOMY
Consumers waver on confidence to survive loss of income
Figure 16: Thoughts on the current economy, November 2019
Younger consumers more susceptible to economic job loss
Figure 17: Effects of recession on employment and savings, November 2019
Men are more confident in the future economy than women
Figure 18: Economic predictions, by age and gender, November 2019
APPENDIX – DATA SOURCES AND ABBREVIATIONS
Consumer survey data
Abbreviations and terms
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Financial ServicesConsumers And The Economic Outlook - US - January 2020