Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Consumer Confidence Rises Amid Massive Doom and Gloom

The big BUT comes in the first sentence. Of course, the experts were again wrong. Maybe we should stop paying attention to them.
Consumer confidence rose in November amid receding gas prices, but Americans' views on the economy remain the gloomiest in decades as they grapple with massive layoffs, slumping home prices and dwindling retirement funds.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 44.9, up from a revised 38.8 in October. Last month's reading was the lowest since the research group started tracking the index in 1967.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the November reading to slip to 37.9. Still, the November figure is about half of what it was a year ago, and hovers around levels not seen since December 1974, when the index was 43.2.

The Present Situation Index declined to 42.2 from 43.5 last month. The Expectations Index, which is consumers' assessment of the economy over the next six months, increased to 46.7 from 35.7 in October.

"The persistent declines in the Present Situation Index suggest that the economy has weakened further in the final months of this year," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. "But despite the improvement in the Expectations Index this month, consumers remain extremely pessimistic and the possibility that economic growth will improve in the first half of 2009 remains highly unlikely."
It's more like the media and the experts remain pessimistic. I think most Americans would prefer to be optimistic, but the relentless onslaught of negativity does wear people down. Expect it to get worse as Christmas approaches.

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