These key economic metrics literally went off the charts, says Bespoke’s Paul Hickey

Some recent economic data have proven to be rather meager: wage growth is tepid, auto sales are weak and personal income did not budge month over month in its most recent reading.

But according to the latest wide-ranging consumer sentiment survey from Bespoke Investment Group, responses when it came to views on the economy, personal finances and individual companies went quite literally off the charts.

"We've been running the survey monthly for three years and this month's rating for many of these indicators were the highest we've seen in three years. So we literally had to adjust the y-axis on some of these charts," Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"While economic data has been coming in a little bit weaker than expected lately, maybe this forward-looking analysis is telling us there may be a little bit more strength coming up in the next few months, versus what we've seen already," he added.

The survey, published this week, sampled 15,000 U.S. consumers and found that sentiment saw a substantial bump from consumers' perception of financial conditions, and was the strongest of any period in the survey's history. In one interesting measure, the report also tries to gauge how consumers feel relative to other people. This most recent reading was the highest in the report's history.

"Even if consumers are feeling very confident about their finances, if they also feel like they're falling behind their peers or the rest of the country, they can sometimes be much less confident," Bespoke wrote in its report to clients.

When it came to sentiment toward the labor market, the report found that average hours worked have trended stronger from lows seen in the first quarter, and that reading is now in the middle of its three-year range. In another gauge of confidence in the labor market, Bespoke's measure of consumers concerned that they will lose their job fell meaningfully since the beginning of the year.

The sole area of weakness reflected in the report's findings was in housing market sentiment.

"The only category that was weaker sequentially was Housing, and no category was materially weaker than a year ago. That's pretty remarkable given the volatility in many of our questions' responses, and shows, in our view, a very strong consumer in July," the report read.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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