Consumer spending drives the economy and makes up nearly two-thirds of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Real estate investors who build investment properties or buy existing ones contribute to that spending spree. Consumer spending is largely attributed to how consumers feel about theconsumer confidence up economy.

Confident consumers spend and borrow more and less confident consumers retrench and keep their wallets and purses closed. Today, the Conference Board, a non-profit group, reported that Consumer Confidence for the month of April dipped slightly to 82.3, slightly lower than the 83 economists had expected. The March figure, was initially reported at 82.3 as well but revised higher to 83.9 But what exactly is the consumer confidence number and how is it calculated?

The Conference Board sends out surveys on the first of each month to a preselected group of citizens representing a broad demographic, numbering about 5,000. There are five basic questions, questions that haven’t changed since the inception of the report back in 1967. Talk about a measuring stick. The first two questions ask the respondent’s view of current business conditions and expectations of business conditions six months from now.

The next two questions ask about the current job market as well as the respondent’s expectations for employment six months from now and the last of the five asks about personal or household income expectations and again what they expect their income to be six months later. The responses are then characterized as positive, negative or neutral and compared against the benchmark year of 1987.

If there are any two indicators to the future of our economy, the Consumer Confidence report and the number of new jobs created each month are highly regarded by the Fed and economists in general. It’s hard to figure out if one benefits from the other but as someone gets a new job or hears that the unemployment rate is falling, it can effect a positive outcome and consumer'