Following the weak Aug UoM confidence figure, the Aug Conference Board Confidence figure was very weak as well at 44.5 (lowest since Apr ’09), well below expectations of 52 and down from 59.2 in July. Almost the entire decline from July was in the Expectations component which plunged 23 pts. The Present Situation fell just 2.4 pts. The answers to the labor market questions were disconcerting as those that said jobs were Plentiful fell .4 pts to a 5 month low and those that said jobs were Hard To Get rose 4.3 pts to the most since Nov ’09. Business Conditions Present Situation was little changed but the Outlook fell sharply. Those that plan to buy a home within 6 months fell 1.2 pts to the lowest since Dec. Those that plan to buy a car rose 1 pt to a 3 month high. One bright spot was those who plan to take a vacation which rose to the most since Dec (get away from it all?). One year inflation expectations were unchanged at 5.8%, still above the 10 yr average of 5.1%. Bottom line, August was an extremely tumultuous month as we all know and the confidence data is a rational response to the economic fears that became global. With this said, there is many times a difference between how consumers feel and how they act.
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