Today we saw the Employment Cost Index and the Consumer Confidence Index. Both indicators gave mixed signals.
In terms of consumer confidence, the indicator was down 0.5%. The key fact to the mixed signal is that there was an increase in both the amount of people who said conditions were good and the amount of people who said conditions were bad. However, the increase in the percentage of people claiming conditions were bad was greater (1.5% for bad v. 0.8% for good).
The employment compensation index increased in the past quarter. The report itself seems to me quite ordinary, although I’ll take this opportunity to highlight one thing the report mentioned:
…the sharp increases in benefit costs seen for civilian and private industry workers over the past several years slowed to a more moderate pace.
I was thinking that this might be in some way correlated to the fact that when AETNA realized its earnings last week, that they cited “premium and fee rate increases.”