A new consumer confidence report released on Tuesday suggests that “Americans feel downright terrible about the economy as it is, and their expectations for the near future are even more depressed.” According to the report, the June consumer confidence index fell to 50.4, the lowest level since 1992. One economist observes:
This is incredibly awful…Even as some people spend their tax rebates … the majority appear to be overwhelmed by the surge in gasoline and food prices, and the drop in stock and home prices.
Americans seem both overwhelmed and increasingly pessimistic. The expectations index, for instance — the measurement of “how people figure things will look in six months” — dropped to 41.0, “the lowest figure in the 40 years of the survey, and broke through the previous low of 45.2 reached in December 1973 — just as the economy was beginning to plunge into recession from the effects of the surge in oil prices that followed the Arab embargo announced that fall.”
The mood is not much better in 2008:
- The percentage of people who expect their income to drop in the next six months” also hit record highs to 15.9 percent, 5.1 percent higher than during the economic hardships of 1973.
- “Those claiming business conditions are ‘bad’ increased to 32.5 percent from 29.7 percent“
- “Those saying jobs are ‘hard to get’ increased to 30.5 percent from 28.3 percent in May“
- “Those expecting business conditions to worsen over the next six months rose to 33.9 percent from 32.9 percent”
- “The percent of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead increased to 35.5 percent from 32.3 percent“