Improved expectations haven’t done much to lift views of current economic conditions, still grounded by factors including, prominently, the long-troubled job market.
The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index, based on ratings of the current economy, buying climate and personal finances, stands at -45 on its scale of +100 to -100, hardly different than its 2010 average, -47. That compares with a long-term average of -13 in 24 years of weekly polling.
The dismal labor market bears much of the blame, underscored by an unexpected and unsettling increase of 25,000 new jobless claims reported last week by the U.S. Department of Labor, the biggest jump in three months.
Last week’s report included our separate, monthly measure of expectations, which turned positive, slightly, for the first time in six years. While that’s a hopeful sign, current sentiment, tracked in the weekly CCI, remains mired. This week 89 percent of Americans rate the national economy negatively, 26 points more than average and on a 113-week run above 80 percent. Seventy-five percent call it a bad time to spend money, 12 points more than average and more than two-thirds since the onset of the recession in November 2007. And 53 percent rate their own finances negatively, 9 points more than average and half or more for the 20th week straight.
Summary by Amanda Rohaly. Click here for tables with this week’s CCI data.