Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Christian Science Monitor had, by far, the best headline on the plunge in consumer confidence reported by the Conference Board a short time ago:
Contrary to what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein might want to believe, the two are not unrelated.
Details are provided in this EconoDay report where an important bit of information is left out, barely discernible in the chart, that this is the lowest reading since last April:
The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell back in a surprising and sizable way, down nearly 10 points to 46.0 in February (January revised to 56.5). Expectations, the index's leading component, fell more than 13 points to 63.8 reflecting a sweeping sentiment downturn in income, employment, and business conditions.Maybe that's because, with the exception of Wall Street, the U.S. economy never really got going last year, and people are just now beginning to figure that out.
The expectations index never really got going last year, barely approaching the watershed 80 level, a level consistent in the past with economic expansion.