Friday :: Dec 12, 2003

Consumer Confidence Falls Unexpectedly In Preliminary University of Michigan Measurement

by Steve

Remember the victory lap by the White House over the last month, talking up their success in turning the economy towards recovery? In the midst of the most important retail season of the year, maybe someone needs to tell consumers that everything is better now thanks to W's drain and spend program.

The widely-watched University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey fell unexpectedly in a preliminary reading for December this morning.

U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly fell this month after two months of gains, as the economy created fewer jobs than forecast in November, a sign Americans may still be concerned about job security.

The university's preliminary December consumer sentiment index fell to 89.6 from 93.7 in November, people with access to the preliminary report said. Last month's index was the highest in more than a year and a half.

The U.S. added 57,000 jobs in November, fewer than most economists had forecast, restrained by a grocery worker strike in California and 40 consecutive months of decreases in manufacturing positions. Business investment in new technology and supplies may take up the slack of slower growth in consumer spending this quarter, economists said.

Economists had forecast a reading of 96 in the index, the median of 54 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The Michigan preliminary index comes from a poll of about 250 households. A final index comprised of twice as many homes is released at the end of the month.

Bush can only hope that the final index looks better than the preliminary one.

Steve :: 7:10 AM :: Comments (21) :: Digg It!