Even with employment rising, Jim Cramer said money managers are struggling to understand why consumers aren't spending their paychecks on the traditional retailers, restaurants and real estate.
"The big-time portfolio managers don't see any real strength in consumer spending," Cramer said. "They're just baffled because they know that employment is way up and more hiring is supposed to translate into much better than expected service revenues."
The "Mad Money" host said the answer is simple, and it's hiding right under money managers' noses. Cramer said consumers are chained to two things: their phones and their couches.
Cramer argued that rather than spending money in traditional venues, consumers are dishing out large chunks of their paychecks on smartphone payments. As a result, most of their purchases become tied to their phones, which they use to order food, shop online, play games, stream content, and browse social media.
"If you follow that trail you'll know the consumer hasn't gone away. She's just not being counted because she's hiding right in front of your nose, in the last place the professional money managers would think to look," Cramer said.