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Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:51 AM

Consumer Confidence Plunges To 46, Lowest Since April; Current Conditions Lowest Since 1983

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Consumers don't exactly seem thrilled with the prospect of recovery that most of the economists are yapping about.

This should not be too hard to understand given poor job prospects combined with a huge likelihood of increased taxes at the state level to accommodate public union parasites, and increased taxes at the Federal level to pay for all the stimulus programs that are not working.

No matter the reason it is hard to ignore the raw numbers on the economy Consumer Confidence Falls to Lowest Since April.

The Conference Board’s confidence index slumped to 46, below the lowest forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, from 56.5 in January, a report from the New York- based private research group showed today. A separate report showed home prices rose for a seventh month.

Economists forecast the confidence index would decrease to 55 from a previously reported 55.9 January reading, according to the median of 68 projections in the Bloomberg survey. Estimates ranged from 50.9 to 59.

The Conference Board’s measure of present conditions decreased to 19.4, the lowest since February 1983, from 25.2.

The share of consumers who said jobs are plentiful fell to 3.6 percent from 4.4 percent, according to the Conference Board. The proportion of people who said jobs are hard to get increased to 47.7 percent from 46.5 percent.

The gauge of expectations for the next six months decreased to 63.8, the lowest since July 2009, from 77.3 the prior month.

The proportion of people who expect their incomes to increase over the next six months declined to 9.5 percent from 11 percent. The share expecting more jobs in the next six months fell to 13.4 percent from 15.8 percent.
There is no way to spin that data as being positive. Certainly the bottom is at hand in the jobs are plentiful reading at a mere 3.6%. It can only go to zero. However, there is plenty of room for future expectations to drop from 63.8.

Housing has stalled with another leg down coming, jobs are pathetic, taxes are headed higher, and debt levels are unsustainably high. Pray tell what is there for consumers to be optimistic about?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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