“Remarkably positive outlook”: That was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell yesterday on the state of the American economy. He went on to say, “a wide range of data on jobs and prices supports a positive view,” and “many forecasters are predicting that these favorable conditions are likely to continue.”
Here are a few numbers from this week that show this positive economic momentum is continuing to reach workers and consumers:
- 17 years: Consumer sentiment just hit a fresh 17-year high, as measured by the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. This was the fourth-straight increase in confidence, and consumers also expressed positivity about their own personal finances, with that figure reaching an eight-week high. The improvements are driven by a great job market and continued economic growth.
- $720.89 billion: It may be a little early to be breaking out our Christmas lists—but this week did bring news that consumers are expected to spend more this holiday season. That’s according to a forecast from the National Retail Federation (NRF) which shows the strong economy will boost holiday sales growth by 4.3-4.8 percent this year, reaching as high as $720.89 billion. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said, “The combination of increased job creation, improved wages, tamed inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.” The forecast also included expectations for retailers to hire between 585,000 and 650,000 seasonal workers.
- 8,000: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped by 8,000 to 207,000 last week, hitting near the lowest level in almost half a century. As Reuters noted, the figure pointed “to sustained labor market strength, which should continue to underpin economic growth.”
- 2.3 percent: Made in America is back: Factory orders for U.S.-made goods increased by their largest amount in 11 months in August. The rise was spurred by demand for American-made aircraft. The manufacturing sector has continued to beat expectations, experiencing a resurgence in this economic climate—this latest number is no different.
Make no mistake: This type of economic growth—the kind that lifts industries out of a rut and reaches families—was at the front and center of House Republicans’ agenda over the past two years. These are the priorities that deliver results and help make Americans better off.