Consumer confidence tumbles
August 29, 2012
Americans are feeling worse about the economy than they have in a long time - a fact that could have wide-reaching implications everywhere from Wal-Mart to the White House.
Driven by growing concerns over the job market, consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest point since November 2011, according to The Conference Board, a private research group.
"And consumers don't believe conditions are likely to change. Only 15.4% of people surveyed expect that there will be more jobs available in the next six months, down from 17.6% in July," CNN Money reports.
"The survey also found that only 16.5% expect business conditions to improve in the next six months, down from 19% who were looking for better times ahead last month," the report adds.
August's reading not only threatens to put a damper on retail sales for the back-to-school and winter holiday seasons - the two biggest shopping periods of the year - but it also could have an impact on how Americans vote in November's presidential election.
Mark Vitner, a Wells Fargo Securities senior economist, says he has looked at October confidence figures during the past elections of sitting presidents since 1972. No president has been re-elected when confidence was below a reading of 90, which indicates a healthy economy. The index hasn't reached that level since December 2007.
"This report is a little disturbing going into the fall," Vitner said. "Consumers are less optimistic about the future."