Taggert Brooks Economics Consulting
Taggert Brooks - Economic Consulting

December 2008 Consumer Sentiment

In December of 2008 I conducted the semi-annual consumer sentiment survey for the 7 Rivers Region.  Approximately 1,100 current and past participants in 7 Rivers Region events were emailed a link to the survey. 238 responses were received.  The overall index for consumer sentiment in the 7 Rivers Region actually rose slightly in December 2008 to 70.9 from 69.9 in August 2008. Whereas the rest of the nation experienced a decline in overall sentiment from 61.2 to 60.1. According to Bloomberg:

“It’s a difficult environment for households right now,” Dean Maki, co-head of U.S. economic research at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “The job market is weighing on confidence. We are seeing activity just falling off.”

The confidence index was forecast to rise to 61.9, according to the median of 54 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Estimates ranged from 60 to 65. A preliminary report earlier this month showed a reading of 61.9.

A Commerce Department report earlier today showed the economy shrank at a 3.8 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2008, the weakest growth pace since 1982. Consumer spending contracted at a 3.5 percent rate in the last three months of 2008.

Turning to the current conditions index, based on a subset of questions which ask respondents how they are doing now and how they have been doing over the last year. Again, we appear to have done a bit better than the rest of the nation. The 7 Rivers Region current conditions index rose from 76.5 in August of 2008 to 87.0 in December of 2008. The national index fell from 73.1 to 69.5 in August.
Turning to future expectations. The local expectations index appears to have taken the biggest hit, with the index of future expectations from 65.6 to 60.6. The national number rose from 53.5 to 57.8 over the same interval.

Posted: February 22nd, 2009
Categories: consumer sentiment
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