Consumers confidence stays low

A new survey of consumers shows that American confidence in the economy has not recovered to pre-recession levels.

Clay Bennett / The Christian Science Monitor
When this cartoon first aired, in February, 2001, it reflected the drop in consumer confidence visible on the left of the graph (below left). Consumer confidence levels now are barely two-thirds of what they were then, and show no signs of recovery.
Consumer sentiment (blue) remains mostly unchanged from last month. It's still lower than at any point before the current recession.

Today's release of the Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers for October indicated another decline in consumer sentiment with a reading of 67.9 dropping 3.82% below the level seen last year.

The Index of Consumer Expectations (a component of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators) increased to 64.6, and the Current Economic Conditions Index declined notably to 73.0.

It's important to recognize that while consumer sentiment is still higher than the panic laden trough level seen in late 2008, the current sentiment level is far lower than any level seen during the 2001 tech recession and roughly equivalent to the worst seen during the early 1990s and second dip 1982 recessions.

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