Tuesday, October 25, 2011

USA Consumer Confidence at Recession Levels (Chart) *Pessimism continues to grow*

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The Conference Board: Monthly Consumer Confidence Index


Official Statement by The Conference Board (October 25, 2011) The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had slightly improved in September, declined in October. The Index now stands at 39.8 (1985=100), down from 46.4 in September. The Present Situation Index decreased to 26.3 from 33.3. The Expectations Index declined to 48.7 from 55.1 last month. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was October 13th.

Commenting on the Consumer Confidence Index 
Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: “Consumer confidence is now back to levels last seen during the 2008-2009 recession. Consumer expectations, which had improved in September, gave back all of the gain and then some, as concerns about business conditions, the labor market and income prospects increased. Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions did not fare any better. The Present Situation Index posted its sixth consecutive monthly decline, as pessimism about the current economic environment continues to grow.”

Trend The Consumer Confidence Index in October 2011 of 39.8 (preliminary) dropped -6.6 to a 30-month low, the lowest since April 2009 (40.8). The Consumer Confidence Index has decreased 3 of the past 5 months and decreased 5 of the past 8 months. The short-term trend, the intermediate-term trend, and the the long-term trend continue downwards.

Cycle History The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) reached a Post-Great Recession peak of 72.0 in February 2011. The Great Recession cyclical low was 25.3 in February 2009. The Pre-Great Recession peak was 111.9 in July 2007.

Monthly Consumer Confidence Index (Chart) Below is a chart of The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index through the latest month reported. The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009. The Consumer Confidence Index has been at and continues at historically low levels.


Commentary The October 2011 Consumer Confidence Index of 39.8 (preliminary) is dismal and a 30-month low, the lowest since April 2009. Compared to the Pre-Great Recession peak of 111.9 in July 2007 and even the Post-Great Recession peak of 72.0 in February 2011, consumer confidence continues at historically low levels regardless of the monthly ups and downs. The Consumer Confidence Index has dropped below the prior lows in the upper 40s in September and October 2010. The 2011 spike in oil prices, now abated, high unemployment, and the overall USA economic, fiscal and political issues and uncertainties have been the primary drivers for the downtrend. The debt ceiling debate and lack of political results have also contributed to lowered consumer confidence.

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