Looking at the raw numbers so far in the Trump era, one easily could wonder what all the fuss is about.
An agenda aimed at promoting a new day of American progress has started off fairly lackluster: Auto and retail sales have been punk and productivity is retreating, the U.S. trade deficit continues to swell while manufacturing is contracting, and first-quarter overall growth looks like it will struggle to get over 1 percent.
The only unquestionably good numbers have come in hiring — and they may be the most important of all because they represent not just actions taken in the past but also intentions and expectations for the future.
Numbers like Friday's nonfarm payrolls report and a recent slew of sentiment surveys of businesses, consumers and investors add up to a belief that President Donald Trump will deliver on his economic promises.
An expression gaining more and more popularity these days on Wall Street is "animal spirits," first coined by John Maynard Keynes to describe human emotion that drives business activity.
"I absolutely concur with the animal spirits idea and the prospect of Trumponomics," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors. "The surge we've seen in the last four months or so both in the confidence data and the sentiment survey data, those are leading indicators. The hard data follow with a lag."