A disconnect exists between actual spending and the high confidence levels seen in consumer surveys, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic said in an interview published Thursday.

Although surveys and real-life behavior are often at odds, it usually doesn’t last long. “Typically what happens is if confidence goes up, spending goes up and we haven’t seen that,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in his first comments since taking over the office. “So there’s a disconnect. I think we are actually seeing, to some extent, a playing out of psychology, of the collective psyche that is leading to a different outcome than we would expect.”

Determining the reason may be important to the economy, according to the paper.

“Is it transient, something that is idiosyncratic to a certain period?,” he asked, “Or are we seeing something more fundamental. And that is the million dollar question.”

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic.
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic.

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