Forecasters appear to have been too pessimistic for once.
Bloomberg’s U.S. surprise index that tracks how so-called “hard” economic data perform relative to economists’ projections was the highest in November since March 2013. The gauge includes basically every major report except surveys of business or consumer sentiment.
Sentiment surveys have shown a surge in optimism about the economy this year following the election of President Donald Trump, but the hard data were fairly consistently disappointing relative to expectations from April to October. In September, as the economy was feeling the effects of hurricanes, the hard data missed estimates by the widest margin since the latter part of the recession in 2009.
Housing and consumer indicators in particular helped to boost the hard data surprise index. Industrial production and retail sales figures weren’t as robust, but still improved markedly from the previous two months. Labor market reports surprised to the upside for the 12th straight month.