Friday, June 13, 2003

Consumer confidence slumps, surprising CW


Consumer confidence in the economy fell more than expected in mid-June, according to a Friday report from the University of Michigan.

The consumer-sentiment index fell to 87.2 in mid-June, from 92.1 at the end of May, said market sources with access to the report.

The number missed economists' target for a reading of 93 and was disappointing as many had expected an improvement in consumer confidence now that the war in Iraq is over.

The expectations index was said to have fallen steeply to 84.2 from 91.4 in May, suggesting that a sluggish U.S. economy and stagnating job creation is weighing on consumers.

Maybe most people have figured out that the Thugs tax "relief" doesn't mean diddly (for them).


At the Bill Blass fall showcase in Bergdorf Goodman, Ellen Harris made her biggest wardrobe investment for quite a while, ordering a dress and jackets that together cost several thousand dollars.

But at a Wal-Mart in West Little Rock, Ark., bookkeeper Vanessa Wilson said she was holding back on purchases.

"My husband's job is kind of iffy," the Benton, Ark., resident said. "So I'm not frivolous."

The professional and business service industries lost 900,000 jobs since the end of 2000, but Koropeckyj said that sector has stabilized, and expects to see a modest increase in hiring this year.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector lost 2.5 million workers, and Koropeckyj said, unlike the last downturn, most of those job losses are permanent.

Wal-Mart speculated recently that its consumers were nervous about spending because sales spiked after biweekly paychecks and then slowed between paydays.

And maybe most people have figured out that aWol's "Mission Accomplished" banner was for photo-op purposes only.

As usual, CW thinks the American people are stupid. They aren't.

NOTE: "CW" == "Conventional Wisdom".