business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Conference Board, the New York City-based research group, said yesterday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell “sharply” in February to 46.0, from 56.5 in January, saying that the index is at “historically low levels and is the lowest since April 2009. “

An index of 100 would indicate strong growth.

According to a CNN story, “February's present situation index, which indicates how consumers feel about current economic conditions, hit a 27 year low of 19.4, according to the Conference Board. That means that consumers feel things are worse now than they were during the throes of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008 ... Expectations for the future also took a turn for the worse in February. The expectation index, a measure of consumer outlook over the next few months, fell to 63.8 from an upwardly revised 77.3 in January. Only 16.7% of consumers expect to see an improvement in business conciliations over the next 6 months, down from 20.7%. Some 15.3% of those surveyed expect business conditions to get worse over the next six months.

“The outlook for the labor market was even more bleak. The percentage of those who expect fewer jobs to become available jumped to 24.6% from 18.9% in January. And only 9.5% of those surveyed anticipated an increase in their incomes, compared to 11.0% in January.”
KC's View:
There does seem to a palpable sense of foreboding right now, with a lot of people talking about an expected second dip ... as if it is inevitable. And that wears at consumer confidence. One has to wonder, though, if it might be a self-fulfilling prophesy.