Consumer Confidence

Reader sammy decided he wanted to see a post on Consumer Confidence. I told him this week is very hectic, so he tracked down the data from here, cleaned it, and sent it to me. Well, this doesn’t leave me much choice, so without further ado, here’s a graph of consumer confidence (data only goes back to 1960):

Here’s a summary table

Now, I gotta say, this series surprised me. The only two real winners are Reagan and Clinton. JFK/LBJ and GW are in the postive, though I’m not so sure I’d bet on GW ending his term in positive territory. Confidence dropped under Nixon/Ford, dropped a lot under GHW, and plummeted under Carter.

And yet… in terms of how well things went in their administration, JFK/LBJ and Carter get a bum rap.

The growth rate in real GDP per capita was higher under JFK/LBJ than any other administration in the postwar era, and Carter came in fourth, behind only one Republican (Reagan). And both achieved growth in a fiscally responsible way.

So what drives consumer sentiment? I have no idea. I wasn’t even in high school during the Carter Presidency, and I was living abroad at the time anyway. And I wasn’t born when LBJ was in office. Anyone have any idea?

(And BTW… if you want something graphed and posted all pretty and everything, feel free to follow sammy’s example. I like data!)