“There’s probably been an overreaction of some people thinking we’re significantly worse off than we are because of the media’s fairly heavy coverage” of the economic slowdown, says an economist, who also points out consumer confidence telephone surveys may not be as accurate as they once were, notes Grumpy Editor.
Keith Schwer, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, also told Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jennifer Robison that it’s possible consumers view their personal circumstances more favorably than widespread news reports might lead analysts to expect.
He said a flaw in current telephone surveys is that they don’t always reach a cross-section of the community. That’s because they miss people, reachable only by cell phone, who don’t have land lines at home.
Meanwhile, Grumpy Editor, as pointed out in an April 10 posting, feels constant heavy doses of gloomy items affect newspaper readers and radio/TV listeners’ moods. So when survey questions get to them, the pessimism bounces back.
Just in the past week, consumers have been bombarded with negative economic news via an ABC News/Washington Post consumer comfort index, a Federal Reserve economic report, a Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment, and comments from regional Federal Reserve Bank officials in Atlanta, Kansas City and Dallas. In addition, regional, state and county statistics --- from home sales to employment --- got into the mix.
Getting eyed this week: Today’s producer-price index measures last month’s wholesale inflation; the Fed on Wednesday releases minutes of its April 29-30 meetings, and Friday will see the National Association of Realtors report on April’s existing home sales.
Then next Tuesday, Wall Street awaits the Conference Board consumer confidence index.
And another round of consumer surveys.