No fireworks in consumer confidence this week, but no fizzle either.
With half the year gone, the ABC News Consumer Comfort Index stands at -42 on its scale of +100 to -100. That’s a scant 4 points better than its 2010 average; barring marked improvement in the next six months it could log its second-worst year on record.
The CCI averaged -48 in 2009 and -42 in 2008, its worst two years in 24 years of weekly polling. Those compare to a long-term average of -13 and highs of 28 and 29, on average, in 1999 and 2000.
The index is a point away from its highs for the year, and has been as low as -50 in April. But while it’s a bit off the floor, it’s still in dismal shape, not having seen even the -30s in 116 weeks.
The CCI is based on Americans’ ratings of the national economy, their own finances and the buying climate. Just 47 percent rate their personal finances positively, below half for 26 weeks straight. Fewer, 28 percent, say it’s a good time to make purchases. And fewer still, 12 percent, say the economy’s in good shape, although this at least has kept out of the single digits for the past 9 weeks, something it hadn’t managed since last fall.
Jobs have a strong influence on consumer sentiment, and while the unemployment rate eased to 9.5 percent in June, total nonfarm employment dropped by 125,000; long-term joblessness remained basically unchanged, at historic highs; and the unemployment rate when discouraged workers are included was a much higher 16.5 percent, albeit down from its peak, 17.4 percent, last October.
Summary by Andrew Rabinowitz. Click here for tables with this week’s CCI data.