The consumer confidence index plunged to 25 in Feb., down from 37.4 in Jan. Many economists only predicted it would fall to 35. The index is based on a monthly survey of 5,000 households, responding “positive”, “negative” or “neutral” to five questions about how they feel about certain economic conditions. A decline means people are going to be spending less. Here’s a more specific breakdown of how people responded to the specific questions:
Today’s confidence survey showed the share of consumers who said jobs are plentiful slumped to 4.4 percent from 7.1 percent last month. The proportion of people who said jobs are hard to get increased to 47.8 percent, the highest level since 1992.
Americans also viewed their financial well-being in future months with more pessimism. The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next six months decreased to 27.5, also the lowest on record, from 42.5 in January.
The share of respondents expecting their incomes to rise over the next six months dropped to 7.6 percent from 10.3 percent.
The measure of present conditions dropped to 21.2 from 29.7.
…”The customer’s very tentative,” J.C. Penney’s Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman said on a conference call with investors. “They’re buying what they need and they’re being very smart about how they spend their money.”
U.S. Consumer Confidence Collapsed to Record Low (Update1) [Bloomberg] (Photo: divemasterking2000)