The Conference Board announced today that their Consumer Confidence Index fell to a six-month low of 60.8 from a revised 66 in April, a further sign that the still stagnant job market and the high gas prices based somewhat on the President’s continued strangle-hold on domestic oil, is fraying the public’s confidence of the United State’s economic future.
The drop was a surprise (isn’t it always) as economists had expected an increase to 67. Anything over a 90 is indicative of a healthy economy.
“Consumers are considerably more apprehensive about future business and labor market conditions as well as their income prospects,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. She said fears of inflation that had eased in April picked up again in May.
Adding fuel to the fire, the housing market continued its slide back into recession.
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The U.S. housing market is in a “double dip” – the second wave of falling prices since the Great Recession gained steam in 2008, according to the folks who operate the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
The index tracks 20 large metropolitan areas, including Portland, and found that current house prices are back where they were in mid-2002, on average, for those cities.
And if that isn’t enough all indications are that the manufacturing sector is slowing down:
The May ISM purchasing managers index is forecast to drop to 57.5 in May from 60.4 a month earlier according to a survey of economists by Market News International.
It would mark the first time this year that the closely-watched manufacturing index has fallen below 60, though it is still well above the 50 mark that indicates growth in the sector.
HSBC economist Ryan Wang said U.S. exports, which fueled a rebound in manufacturing earlier this year, are now a key reason for the slower pace of growth in May.
“The slowdown seems to be global. That’s impacting the U.S.,” Wang said in an interview. “The key question is whether it turns into a more serious pullback.”
Regional manufacturing indicators across the board have signaled a slowdown is on the cards. The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index plunged to 3.9 in May from 18.5 the previous month.
The New York Fed’s Empire State report and Chicago PMI have also shown slower growth in their regions, while the Dallas Federal Reserve and Richmond Fed indexes reported contractions in May.
If this was any other President, or at least a republican one, the media would be all over the place screaming double-dip recession. With each passing day, the numbers seem to confirm that we are heading into another tailspin, which is why businesses and consumers alike seem to be keeping their money hidden in their mattresses. If this trend continues, sadly more people will find themselves out of work, and without a home. If it continues long enough one of those jobless people will be President Obama–beginning in January 2013. Its time for the GOP to pick of the mantra of the Bill Clinton campaign “its the economy stupid!”