Jitters over this summer’s debt-ceiling showdown helped push consumer confidence to its lowest level in more than two years. With unemployment levels still high and housing prices remaining low, “there is basically nothing for consumers to be confident about,” analyst Gennadiy Goldberg told Reuters.
The Conference Board’s index of consumer attitudes fell to 44.5, it’s lowest number since April 2009, below the level expected by many economists. The organization’s survey of the job market put the difficulty of finding a job at its highest level since November 2009. Reuters parsed the numbers:
Tuesday’s data kept alive concerns the nation could slide back into a recession and spurred investors to buy government bonds on bets the U.S. Federal Reserve would try something new to help growth…
The private-sector Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes sank to 44.5, its weakest since April 2009, from a downwardly revised 59.2 the previous month.
Economists had expected a much-less-pronounced decline.
Consumers’ flagging confidence might lead them to shut their wallets, although retail sales data has not pointed in that direction yet.
The United States lost its AAA credit rating earlier this month following a drawn-out battle in Congress over spending that nearly led the country to default on its obligations.
“It’s difficult to characterize the labor market as anything other than consistent with being in a recession,” Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans told CNBC.