In data released today, the Consumer Confidence Index has dropped to 48.5, its lowest point since February. The National Bureau of Economic Research determined last week that the recession was over in June 2009, but Americans may not be so sure.
The Associated Press reports on where the index — which measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months — should stand and how it’s actually been reflected in our uncertain economy:
It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a healthy economy — a level not approached since the recession began in December 2007.
Economists watch confidence closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is critical to a strong rebound.
The index — which measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months — had been recovering fitfully since hitting an all-time low of 25.3 in February 2009, but Americans are just as downbeat as they were a year ago.
In September 2009, the index stood at 53.4. Since then, it has mostly hovered in a tight range between the mid-40s and the high 50s.
Before Congress leaves Washington for the next five weeks, a vote should be taken to extend tax cuts for American families and small businesses. A vote to halt a massive $3.9 trillion tax increase set to go into effect on January 1, 2011, will bring needed relief to taxpayers, signal to a weary American public that Congress can be part of the solution to recovering our economy, and boost consumer’s confidence in the direction of our country. It’s a common-sense approach to restoring confidence and stabilizing our economy.
Speaker Pelosi, stop putting politics before the American people and let us vote this week to help all Americans.