Consumers, Hell, and No Handbasket

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The Conference Board has released a dismal reading of Consumer Confidence. In fact, this looks like a record low.  Consumer confidence in October was given an index reading of 38.0.  Economists were looking for a reading of more than 51.0, but the estimates varied.  But 38.0 was far worse than any were calling for, by a long shot.

The reading for September was also revised to 61.4.  The expectationsfor the next 6 months also showed a reading of 35.5 from 61.5 inSeptember, and the present situation fell to 41.9 from 61.1 inSeptember. 

The Conference board noted specifically that this does not bode wellfor retailers who were already bracing for a very challenging holidayseason.  And the government still won’t use the "recession" term.

Interestingly enough, the stock market is writing this number off.Maybe the markets are learning to be efficient.  Let’s hope so, becauseeconomic numbers are likely not going to improve to any comfortablelevels in the near future.

Jon C. Ogg
October 28, 2008