The PJ Tatler

Consumer Confidence Nosedives Again

This time, the word “unexpectedly” does not make an appearance. Has Obama lost Reuters too?

Consumer confidence has fallen further after weeks of intensified economic concerns and broad stock market declines, and Conference Board data due later this month could be even weaker than current projections suggest, Consumer Edge Research said on Monday.

Readings from high, middle and low-income consumers all deteriorated sharply, due mainly to dramatic declines in outlook, the independent equity research firm said.

The firm’s Consumer Economic Index is now at 45.4, down 10 percentage points from July and down 1.5 points from the 46.9 level it reported on August 10. Two days after that report, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary August reading showed that U.S. consumer sentiment had fallen to its lowest point since May 1980.

The 45.4 reading is the lowest since Consumer Edge Research began its index in March 2010.

Consumer Edge Research forecast that the Conference Board’s full-month Consumer Confidence Index would deteriorate 8 to 10 percentage points from an unadjusted 59.5 in July when its report is issued on August 30.

This summer has been a hurricane of bad news — unemployment up, inflation fears creeping up, drought, stock market going haywire, the debt standoff as Democrats pressed for tax hikes, the US credit downgrade, regulatory insanity threatening thousands of jobs and also energy price hikes.  In the face of all this, Obama has promised a new jobs plan without any actual new ideas, and made it easier for illegal aliens to remain in the country, which may help them but will probably depress wages at the low end and add to the already high unemployment numbers. This also contributes to feelings that the country is just going off the rails as Obama pursues his political priorities while the nation burns down around him. Basically, he hasn’t done a thing that could help the economy, and his only ideas are likely to do nothing or hurt it more.