Consumer Confidence in the United States: Where Are We Headed?

COMMENTARY | How much confidence do you have in the current U.S. economy? It would seem that most Americans are quite unsure about the stability of our capitalism-based economy. According to a recent article on the Consumer Confidence Index was at 61.1 as of the end of January 2012. Previously the readings went from 40.9 in October to 64.8 in December. Since a mark of 90 indicates a healthy economy the readings are still only slightly over 66 percent of where we need to be. We can also look at one piece of the CCI that measures how shoppers feel about the economy and see that it also fell slightly over eight points in January, from 46.5 to 38.4. The basis for this index is a survey of shoppers conducted between January 1 and January 19.

Think back to when you were last happy with our country’s economic state. Do those thoughts take you back about five years to a time prior to the beginning of this recession? That would be the last time that there was a Consumer Confidence Indicator at or above 90 .

As is usually the case, you can look around and find varying opinions. A University of Michigan economist claims in an article from that job gains in January gave a boost to consumer confidence. That article states that the Consumer Sentiment Index shows a continued rise to 75 from an low of 55.8 seen in August. This same article shows that the CSI peaked last February at 77.5. This article makes a truly revealing statement, though: “Every sustained recovery in the past half century has been foreshadowed by rising confidence in government economic policies.” Do you, as an American citizen, experience a rising confidence in our government’s economic policies?

We seem to have differing opinions, America, which are based on two different indexes. We can be quite sure that you will agree with one of these two opinions. We can also be quite certain that your sentiments are based on your own economic situation. Do you base your economic beliefs on the status of the job market? Current housing statistics? Likelihood that you will receive a raise in your current job? Whatever the basis, it looks like most Americans are quite uncomfortable with the current state of the American economy.

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