I have been running into disparities like this for a few months.
It's as though the economy is being propped up via financial assets, which appears to be Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve's intent.
The last reports on consumer debt and retail sales went higher, which looks like more are borrowing to fund current lifestyles as wages fall.
Kind of like pushing on a string?
"This is what Keynes meant by the phrase 'Pushing on a string.'"Pushing on a string is a figure of speech for influence that is more effective in moving things in one direction than another – you can pull, but not push.If something is connected to you by a string, you can move it toward you by pulling on the string, but you can't move it away from you by pushing on the string. It is often used in the context of economic policy, specifically the view that "Monetary policy [is] asymmetric; it being easier to stop an expansion than to end a severe contraction."...the phrase was introduced by Congressman T. Alan Goldsborough in 1935, supporting Federal Reserve chairman Marriner Eccles [Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.] in Congressional hearings on the Banking Act of 1935:Governor Eccles: "Under present circumstances, there is very little, if any, that can be done."Congressman Goldsborough: "You mean you cannot push on a string."Governor Eccles: "That is a very good way to put it, one cannot push on a string. We are in the depths of a depression and... beyond creating an easy money situation through reduction of discount rates, there is very little, if anything, that the reserve organization can do to bring about recovery.The phrase is, however, often attributed to John Maynard Keynes: "As Keynes pointed out, it's like pushing on a string..."
The phrase is also used in regard to asymmetrical influence in other contexts; for example, in 1976 a labor statistician, writing in the New York Times about Carter's policies, wrote that "in today's economy, reducing unemployment by stimulating employment has become more and more like pushing on a string."Wiki