It was two cycles ago that the consumer confidence index has been this high, at 125.6 in March for the strongest reading since December 2000. At 113.8, the expectations component hasn't been this high since September 2000. The present situation component is at 143.1 for its best reading since August 2001 which was just at the end of the 1991 to 2001 economic cycle.
Subcomponents in the present situation are closely watched for indications on the monthly employment report and today's results are very positive. Fewer, at 19.5 vs 19.9 percent, say jobs are hard to get this month and many more, at 31.7 vs February's 26.9 percent, say jobs are plentiful.
A key reading on the expectations side is income, and here too the results are very positive. More this month, at 21.5 vs 19.2 percent, see their income increasing over the next six months and fewer, at only 7.0 vs 8.1 percent, see their income declining.
Buying plans are mixed with autos up but homes down. A negative in the report is a 2 tenths decline in 12-month inflation expectations to only 4.6 percent which is very low for this reading.
Consumers are extremely upbeat right now though the lack of inflation expectations doesn't quite fit. What else doesn't fit is actual consumer spending which has failed to match the strength underway in confidence. Watch on Friday for the consumer sentiment report which breaks down what it describes as unprecedented polarization in its sample between the optimism of Republicans and the pessimism of Democrats. One final note, the cutoff date for today's report was March 16, well ahead of last week's efforts in Washington to repeal Obamacare.