APRIL 2, 2018 – CONSUMER CONFIDENCE HOLDING WITH EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS
Headline consumer confidence slipped slightly in March after reaching an 18-year high in February. However, consumer confidence is still seen as being high and indicates support for strong growth in consumer spending in the coming months.
Lower income taxes and accelerations in hiring are raising consumer optimism. The jobs-plentiful index rose to 39.9 from 39.1, and the jobs-hard-to-get fell to 14.9 from 15.1 last month. US filings for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since January 1973, showing the tightness in the labor market. These factors are indicating the March payroll numbers should come in strong and the unemployment rate is expected to fall below 4 percent.
As the US economy continues to hold strong, we should be prepared for possible changes in Fed policy. Three rate hikes in 2018 are the Fed’s default position, but momentum could build for an additional increase. Regardless of the pace, rates are on an upward trajectory for the immediate future. Don’t let yourself get caught paying higher interest payments than need be. Locking into an interest rate hedge through the use of swaps will save your business money going forward.