Consumers now confident enough to buy … not much at all

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The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index jumped far faster than anybody expected in May. Markets rejoiced, there was dancing in the streets, etc. etc.

But here’s a little reality check from Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics:

if the new level is maintained the Conference Board index is consistent with real spending growth of less than 1%.

In other words, if we’re heading for a recovery, we still can’t count on consumer spending to drive it.