With unemployment at 9.9 percent, consumer confidence is in its customary posture of late: flat on its back.
The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index stands at -47 on its scale of +100 to -100, matching its average for the year – so far the second-worst year in 24 years of weekly polls. The index, based on Americans’ ratings of their personal finances, the buying climate and the national economy, averaged -48 last year, its worst on record.
April employment numbers released Friday marked the creation of 290,000 new jobs, a positive sign. Nonetheless there were negatives as well. Unemployment edged up by 0.2 points (not a statistically significant change given polling tolerances); while some analysts suggested this reflected discouraged workers returning to the labor force, another measure of unemployment, including discouraged workers, increased by 0.3 points.
Moreover, the broadest measure of unemployment, including people who want full-time work but can’t find it, as well as discouraged workers, is higher still – 17.1 percent. And long-term unemployment – a confidence-crusher – reached 6.7 million, or 45.9 percent of the unemployed, a record in data back to 1948.
ABC’s consumer index, for its part, is unchanged this week. Ninety percent of Americans rate the national economy negatively, the 112th straight week above 80 percent and 27 points worse than average. Seventy-six percent, 13 points more than average, call it a bad time to spend money; it’s been more than two-thirds since November 2007, a record 130 weeks. And 55 percent rate their own finances negatively, 11 points more than average.
Summary by Amanda Rohaly. Click here for tables with this week’s CCI data.