business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Times has a story saying that "businesses and households swim in the same economic soup and their outlooks — gloomy or bright — are usually in sync. But in recent months, the two seem to occupy opposite ends of a teeter-totter, with consumers continuing to spend while business owners and managers are chastened by doubt and uncertainty.

"The economic expansion has extended its record run despite this curious divergence. The question is how long it can continue."

The story continues: "Among chief executives, persistent trade frictions, worldwide economic weakness and reports of labor shortages are sowing disquiet … their confidence is at recession-level lows, according to the Conference Board, a nonprofit research group. Investment in equipment, software, research and structures fell by 3 percent in September, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday, the second monthly reduction in a row."

But … "Consumers have mostly held tight to their optimism. Confidence has dipped slightly in recent months, but their economic outlook remains elevated. Personal spending rose at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter, after increasing at a 4.6 percent rate in the previous three months."
KC's View: