Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Consumer Confidence is Down in August Says the Conference Board

Excerpts below from an article from Market Watch, indicates the consumer confidence is lower in August. It appears that the consumer is losing some confidence in the near term economy. This still needs to play out a little more, but a number of the components of this index are moving in the wrong direction.

Softening economic conditions and volatility in financial markets led to a sharp decline in U.S. consumer confidence in August, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index fell to 105.0 in August from a revised 111.9 in July, which was a cyclical high, the private economic research group said.

This is the lowest level of confidence since August 2006 and the biggest drop since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's research center, said the continued problems stemming from the woes in subprime mortgages may have played a role in the drop in confidence, but softening business and labor market conditions were also factors.

Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference Board, said in an interview with cable network CNBC that the index was "nowhere close to a recession right around the corner," and said consumers were showing resilience.

"This number is still above 100. If we were about to go into recession, this number would be a good 30 to 40 points lower," Goldstein said.

The number of consumers saying conditions are "good" dropped to 26.4% in August from 28.3% in July. Those claiming conditions are "bad" increased to 16.3% from 14.5%.

The assessment of the labor market was less favorable than last month. Those saying jobs are "hard to get" rose to 19.7% from 18.7% in July. (my emphasis)