A summertime slide in consumer confidence accelerated this week, with economic sentiment dropping from its 2010 high a month ago to near its low for the year today.
Ninety percent of Americans in the latest weekly ABC News survey of consumer views say the economy’s in bad shape, 75 percent call it a bad time to spend money and 57 percent say their own finances are hurting. Confidence, already very low, is its worst in three months.
The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index, based on these measures, stands at -48 on its scale of +100 to -100. It’s fallen 7 points from its 2010 high of -41 in late June and is now just 2 points from its worst of the year, -50 in February and April.
Indeed the index is just 6 points from its lowest on record, -54 in December 2008 and January 2009. Compare these levels to its long-term average in 24 years of weekly polling, -13, much less its high, +38 in January 2000.
Last week, in a separate, monthly measure of expectations, economic pessimists outnumbered optimists for the second month straight, pushing aside a briefly more positive assessment in May and underscoring the current economic doldrums. Just 25 percent said the economy’s improving.
The index has weakened particularly in the Midwest, where it’s now -52, its lowest since March. It’s also its lowest since March among Democrats, now -53. The 13-point gap between Democrats and Republicans (-40) has widened recently, but still remains far less than its usual 31 points – meaning the condition of the economy is one issue on which most partisans unhappily agree.
Click here for tables with this week’s CCI data.