Friday, July 15, 2011

Consumer Confidence Falls Back to March 2009 Lows

Usually I don't take much stock in consumer confidence, but this figure has never really jumped anywhere close to levels usually associated with recovery the past 2 years.  Today's figure is downright putrid, falling back to areas last seen in March 2009.  Ironically that was the low in the market, but the economic situation was quite awful back then.  Obviously for those not enjoying the Ben Bernanke wealth effect [Nov 10, 2010: Who Will the Any Form of Intermediate Wealth Effect Really Help? Not the Masses] the economic 'recovery' of the past two years is not 'trickling down' much.

Again, normally I focus on what people are doing - not saying - but these figures are so awful they should be noted.

Via Reuters:

  • Consumer sentiment deteriorated in early July to the lowest level since March 2009 on increasing pessimism over falling income and rising unemployment, a survey released on Friday showed.
  • Confidence in government economic policies also curdled, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed. U.S. lawmakers are wrangling over a budget deal that would allow the government to raise the debt ceiling -- needed so the United States can fund its obligations next month.
  • The preliminary reading for the consumer sentiment index dropped to 63.8 in July from 71.5 the month before, falling far short of expectations of an increase to 72.5, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
  • The survey's barometer of current economic conditions fell to 76.3, the lowest since November 2009, from 82.0. The gauge of consumer expectations was also at its lowest since March 2009, tumbling to 55.8 from 64.8.
  • "Whenever the Expectations Index has been this low in the past, the economy has been in recession," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
  • Overall, the data suggests real consumer spending in the second half of the year may be barely higher than the first half, the survey said.
  • Twice as many consumers reported hearing about new job losses compared with job gains, while half of all consumers said the economy had recently worsened. Last week, data showed the economy added a scant 18,000 jobs in June.
  • "We remain in a very slow recovery with extraordinarily grudging employment. The public at large still feels the recovery is, at best, a neutral factor," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at J.H. Cohn in New York. "They're not seeing a lot of benefits."

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