US consumer “confidence” at recessionary levels | FT Alphaville

US consumer “confidence” at recessionary levels

A list of antonyms for “confidence”: “uncertainty”, “disbelief”, “carefulness”, “caution”, “circumspection”, “prudence”, “unconfidence”.

[That last one… really? – Ed. Well, says so.]

Anyways, that’s just in case we want to rethink what we call this thing, released Tuesday:

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. …

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.”

The obvious retort is that this runs counter to the narrative we’ve heard in the last three or four weeks as economists, strategists, analysts and other supposed expert types have gradually increased their estimates for Q3 GDP growth and stopped worrying that the US economy was on the brink of another recession. And you can also point to the disconnect between measured confidence and actual spending activity.

Still, not comforting, or confidence-inspiring, especially as we head into the holiday shopping season. Though if you’re Japanese and looking to do some Christmas shopping, now’s the time:


Related link:
Consumer confidence tumbles in October – Reuters