Consumer confidence is up very sharply this month, to a January reading and recovery best of 102.9!! Gains sweep most readings including a 12.7 point surge in the present situation component to 112.6. Here, the jobs-hard-to-get subcomponent shows special strength in the jobs market, down 1.6 percentage points to 25.7 percent in a reading that is a positive indication for the monthly employment report.

The expectations component also shows strength, up 7.9 points to 96.4 with the income subcomponent up sharply. Strength in expectations for future income points to a combination of strength in the jobs market, the stock market, and also the positive effect of lower gasoline prices. Inflation expectations, reflecting lower gas prices, are steady at 5.0 percent which is very low for this reading.

Another positive in the report is a jump in vehicle buying plans in yet another indication of consumer confidence. Nevertheless, readings on consumer spirits, including this report, have been far outstripping actual gains in underlying consumer spending, at least so far.