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Snap AV: ‘Forgotten Man’ hasn’t moved the needle for US spending data

Summary:
A closer look at consumer data shows what Americans already kind of knew: Older, middle-class households in the heartland were the ones that got a lot more confident after President Trump’s election.For households aged 55 and older, consumer confidence climbed 25 points between October and February, according to Michelle Meyer of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The increase for 35-55 year olds was smaller, at 9.2 points. Confidence dropped 7.8 points for Americans younger than 35.Broken down by region, it’s pretty clear that confidence rose most in areas with higher concentration of Trump-voting states:But Meyer and her team found a muddled relationship between confidence and spending by region — they said that neither job growth nor credit-card use were particularly well correlated with regional changes in confidence.For the whole country, retail & wholesale data hasn’t been much better than expected, as indicated by the green line below:That could be explained by breaking down changes in confidence by income. The jump was biggest for middle-income Americans, as demonstrated in the chart on the right above. (This makes some sense, since the middle class has lost ground in recent years.

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A closer look at consumer data shows what Americans already kind of knew: Older, middle-class...

Alexandra Scaggs
Alexandra Scaggs is a markets reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York. She writes about the U.S. stock market and investment trends. She also covers the business of markets research, writing on the calls, personalities and moves of high-profile analysts and strategists. Ms. Scaggs graduated from Washington & Lee University with a degree in business journalism.

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