Little Consumer Confidence Heading Into Black Friday

Just 10 percent of Americans rate the economy positively.

ByABC News
December 9, 2008, 9:59 AM

Nov. 24, 2009 — -- Consumer confidence stalled this week after a modest three-week advance, signaling trouble for the nation's retailers heading into the holiday shopping season. Confidence overall is near its historic lows, and nearly three-quarters of Americans call this a bad time to spend money.

The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index stands at -47 on its scale of +100 to -100, on pace for its worst full year on record in ongoing polling since late 1985. The CCI's averaged -48 this year, compared with -42 last year and a record low of -44 in 1992.

Click here for a PDF with charts and data table.

Those compare dismally to its long-term average -12, much less its best year, +29 in 2000.

The index is based on three gauges: Nine in 10 Americans rate the economy negatively, 74 percent call it a bad time to buy things and 57 percent say their personal finances are in bad shape. None holds encouragement for retailers in their busiest season of the year.

The CCI's a grim reminder of the country's continued economic problems, chief among them 10.2 percent unemployment. In a separate ABC News/Washington Post poll this week, three in 10 said they or someone in their household had lost a job in the past year. And majorities in this group reported anger, stress, depression and serious financial hardship as a result.

INDEX – The CCI, as noted, is based on Americans' ratings of their current finances, the national economy and the buying climate. Just 43 percent now rate their own finances positively, 14 points below average and just 4 points from the record low in June. It's been below a majority for 28 weeks straight and all but two weeks this year.

The 26 percent who rate the buying climate positively is a point from the year's best, but still 11 points below average and under 30 percent for a record 89 weeks. And positive ratings of the national economy, at 10 percent, are 28 points below their long-term average.