Heading For The Cliff?
The Conference Board reported this morning that consumer confidence dropped last month to a level not seen in 9 months.
Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s consumer research center, said this month’s drop — the largest one-month decline since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast a year ago — means expectations of slower growth in the coming months.
“You’ve got a deterioration in business conditions coupled with lackluster job growth,” Franco said.
Lackluster job growth? What about stagnant wages, you twit? Oh that's right; you represent the employers.
Americans’ sentiment about the labor market worsened in August, with consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” decreasing to 24.4 percent in August from 28.6 percent in July, and those saying jobs are “hard to get” increasing to 21.1 percent from 19.6 percent.
Consumer confidence has been volatile this year, with rising interest rates, high energy prices and fighting in the Middle East weighing on Americans’ view of how the U.S. economy is doing.
Even with the recent retreat in gasoline prices, inflation worries remain high. “Consumers are feeling their dollars are getting stretched a little thin,” Franco said.
The Conference Board’s present situation index, which measures how respondents feel about current economic conditions, plummeted to 123.4 in August from 134.2 in July.
And this is before Bush or Israel hits Iran after the midterms. The drop in confidence wiped out expectations from Wall Street that the economy would be helped by dropping oil prices, a remarkable assumption from the Street, where it appears they really don’t expect Bush to hit Iran and send oil prices to the stratosphere. As for the Fed, they seem to finally admit they went one or two rate increases too far and have now stalled the economy before Bush sends it over the cliff with the attack on Iran.
With the housing market headed downhill, oil prices about to go significantly higher, and the job market drying up as wages stagnate, you wonder why the Democrats have not been able to make an issue of the economy, especially when Bush’s approval rating on the subject has been in the toilet for a year now. And then you read this bit of news from today’s Census Bureau poverty report, and you wonder why the GOP has any representatives or Senators in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan:
The poverty report comes four years into an uneven economic recovery — and a little more than two months before congressional midterm elections that will determine whether Republicans continue to control the House and the Senate.
High gas prices and a slowing economy could help make pocketbook issues important in some races, especially in the Midwest, where job growth has been slow or nonexistent.
The U.S. added about 2 million nonfarm jobs in 2005, and has added nearly a million since, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But job growth has been uneven across the country.
For example, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois had fewer jobs in July than they did when Bush took office in January 2001. The nation has added 2.8 million jobs in that time, despite suffering job losses in 2001 and 2002.
I know that I am a broken record, but several of us sitting around a table with a case of beer could develop a better campaign to take back the House and Senate that anything I have seen from the DSCC or DCCC of late.