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ABC Consumer Comfort Index Drops Again As "88% Of Respondents Think Economy Is Still In A Recession"

Tyler Durden's picture


The one index that just refused to correlate to the market, and the UMichigan Index, and the Confidence Board, was released today, and once again hit a 2010 low of -49. The index has been in a -48 to -49 range for the past five weeks. The primary reason for this week's drop was due to a 6 point decline in the personal finance component, from -6 to -12, the lowest reading since December 6, with not much change in the other two readings: National Economy and Buying Conditions. It is somewhat confounding that this index persistently "refuses" to go up with all the other self-reinforcing confidence indices out there.Maybe this is the reason: from the report "Eighty-eight percent think that the economy, despite what economists say to the contrary, is still in a recession."

From the press release:

Consumer confidence is on a cold streak, locked in place since the beginning of the year at very near its worst-ever rating – and more than three in four think the economy is stalled or will decline in coming months.

The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index stands at -49 on its scale of +100 to -100, in a 2-point range and without significant movement for the past six weeks. It is hovering just 5 points from its all-time low, -54 last January, and is far worse than its long-term average, -13 in 24 years of weekly polls.

A separate, forward-looking measure finds little in the way of optimism for the economy’s future. Just 23 percent think things are getting better and 77 percent say the economy is staying the same or getting worse – a chilling assessment given the very low ratings of current sentiment.

And the clincher:

A key indicator from last week’s ABC News/Washington Post poll underscores these persistent negative feelings. Eighty-eight percent think that the economy, despite what economists say to the contrary, is still in a recession. And on a more personal note, 53 percent say that based on their experience the economy has not begun to recover.

Propaganda fail.


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Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:16 | 233255 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture


all the news and market reaction or not has made me sick to my stomach. I am out of all stocks and I'm never coming back.

What can we do to end the rigging. As a nation we are enslaved with debt and now our market has been taken from us. What is next, I don't even want to know.

yes, I'll have another double.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:22 | 233318 Stranger
Stranger's picture

You can't save the system. It is going to collapse and there is nothing that can stop that.


The most you can do is to stop it from collapsing on you.


The U.S. dollar is doomed. Solution: switch to a different money. Government forbids it? Solution: organize opposition to the government so they can't stop you.

Life is simple now.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 04:52 | 233732 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

organizing opposition to the government so they can't stop you is probably not the simplest (or safest) way to switch to a different money.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:57 | 234016 Stranger
Stranger's picture

I didn't say it was easy, I said it was simple to understand.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:17 | 233256 Going Down
Going Down's picture


Okay, folks. When do we start using the "D" word? I suppose when U-6 climbs to 20% or to Great Depression levels of 25%?




Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:09 | 233927 Master Bates
Master Bates's picture

The economy can never deflate.  Why?  Because the goldbugs say so.
We're no different than Zimbabwe after all.

Right Chumba?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 23:19 | 235032 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

No, because there has been zero deflation over the last decade. No official statistic counts the growth of derivatives as inflation. The banking system has been dead for a decade, the banks were already overleveraged and had been given a second lifeline by the Fed to borrow well beyond their means. There has only been inflation, and there only will be inflation when a creditor nation like jp defaults are sells their us debt.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:21 | 233260 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

In my town and in my business-lodging-sales continue to decline each month from last year sales. this has been going on uninterupted for 18 months straight. You guys are the only ones who make any sense out of what really is happening. What really scares the shit out of me is what may yet happen.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:02 | 233454 drwells
drwells's picture

Yep. We're further from reality than we were in 2006. Prepare accordingly.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:44 | 233631 ghostfaceinvestah
ghostfaceinvestah's picture

I see small business failures really piling up where I live, at a faster and faster pace, restaurants, salons, specialty retail, small service shops, all failing quickly.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:28 | 233266 BS Inc.
BS Inc.'s picture

Well, it's no damn surprise. The press talked down the economy during all of Bush's two terms, so of course when the economy's really in the crapper (just focusing on current reality, not the longer-term causes of it and whether or not the Bush years were a "false prosperity", so don't get your panties in a bunch Bush-haters) people are going to say so, despite what the various media and government sources say.

It's actually much easier to tell someone that something good is bad than vice versa.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:45 | 233351 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Say BS Inc.

You certainly are true to your moniker.

So let's hear some happy talk. Green Shoots. Greener Shoots. More Green Shoots. Much More Green Shoots. Very Much More Green Shoots. Lots of Very Much More Green Shoots. Lots and Lots of Very Much More Green Shoots. Humungous Amounts of Green Shoots.

Greatbighuge Amounts of Green Shoots.

Now, for a brief intermission: WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU THAT THE ECONOMY HAS COLLAPSED. And back to our main program.

Green Shoots.... More Green Shoots...

If you would like "Good News" get two doctors to sign you in for a couple of weeks. The food is adequate and everyone you meet seems happy. And maybe you can find Dubya's padded room !

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:11 | 233547 BS Inc.
BS Inc.'s picture

I think you missed my point, which was that now, when the government and media would like people to have confidence, it's more difficult for people to be confident because not only is the economy in the crapper, but it's also in the crapper relative to an economy which everyone was told was bad, so the current economy seems even worse despite the talk of "recovery".

Hate Bush all you want, MANY people will, superficially, but will, nonetheless, look back at his tenure as a better economic time than the present.

Anyway, I think all the talk about "animal spirits" and confidence are overrated. It doesn't matter if I'm "confident" or not if I don't have a job or if my mortgage is eating up so much of my income that I can't do anything but stay home. The only thing that will restore confidence is debt being written off to restore actual cash flows to consumers and away from banks.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:49 | 233588 35Pete
35Pete's picture

Ahh, the ole' "Yeah!, but Obama is more bad than Bush". 

Loosely translated: Two buses are headed for a cliff. I'll take the slower bus". 

Now if we can just get some more Richard Shelby Jim Leach, and Phil Gramme types elected we'll all be sittin' pretty with freedom and liberty for all! 


Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:56 | 233595 akak
akak's picture

Yes, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:09 | 233609 BS Inc.
BS Inc.'s picture

How you get that from my post is your problem, not mine. The debt cycle transcends any notion of electoral politics which has been operative in the US for a long time, i.e. neither party really understands the debt deflation dynamic, or, if they understand it, aren't doing much about it.

If you don't think the media was downplaying the economy during the Bush years to make him look bad, that's also your problem. Clearly, things which were considered awful during the Bush years became signs of recovery during the first year of Obama's tenure. That's just a fucking fact anyone with a pair of eyes in their heads can see by reading.

So, take your fucking sarcasm and stick where your head is, up your ass. Got it?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 05:04 | 233733 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

on a related and possibly less controversial note, the "things which were considered awful during the Bush years became (at least o.k./good things) during the first year of Obama's tenure."  (wars, secret detention, political control of doj, rendition, crony capitalism, sale of the people's interests to corporations for campaign contributions, use of state secrets protections to cover up crimes).  i think we can all agree on that. 

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:07 | 233924 Master Bates
Master Bates's picture

How dare people say bad things about Bush!!!

He just started two wars and drove the economy that was prosperous off of a cliff!

Or was it the "drive by" media that tanked the economy, only to later blame it on Bush?

I think that it was the drive bys.  Mega Dittos, BS!!!

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:28 | 233267 deadhead
deadhead's picture

Thanks for continuing to report on the ABC poll Tyler.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:29 | 233269 john_connor
john_connor's picture


Unrelated, but can you provide a PIIGS or STUPID cds update?  It seems this has been swept under the rug when cds (and sovereign bond spreads) should be widening.  My bad if Spanish intelligence gets on your case.


Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:40 | 233273 Reductio ad Absurdum
Reductio ad Absurdum's picture

That chart makes it look like we're in the earlier stages of a few years of "prosperity." Look at the chart around 1991 and 2003 -- sharp multi-year drop followed by slow movement upward, the same position it's in now. Would expect it to reach about -20 in 2012 if history repeats.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:42 | 233278 deadhead
deadhead's picture

one could argue that it has a h & s.......

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:59 | 233451 SteveNYC
SteveNYC's picture

Back then, we had manufacturing jobs (heck, we had jobs!), the consumer had boundless debt capacity, house prices were mega-cheap, the Feds had loads of debt capacity, and the economy had a whole tech-boom decade to look forward to.


What have we now? Outsourced jobs, EVERY level of the country loaded with debt, huge unemployment, SHRINKING incomes, no new industry to drive the growth.


Save your pennies, the country is in big trouble.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:11 | 233545 Lionhead
Lionhead's picture

No argument is required for the massive Head & shoulders pattern on this weekly chart. It is most telling as the measured move from the head is literally off the chart.

I'm assuming that the data input is untainted by any governmental/statistical shenanigans. The "big lie" program is not gaining traction.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:45 | 233282 Zippyin Annapolis
Zippyin Annapolis's picture

The real unemployment rate is around 17%--figuring in discouraged workers--we have replaced inventory and burned through trillions in "stimulus" and well--now what?


--and I guess the peeps get it--will the politicos (answer --no)

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 20:50 | 233292 trav7777
trav7777's picture

WTF is wrong with all these pessimists?!?!!?

Dude, Wall Street got RECORD BONUSES.

You are supposed to life your lives vicariously through them just like entertainers and athletes!

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:19 | 233313 Stranger
Stranger's picture

There are much fewer people working on Wall Street than there used to be.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:49 | 233359 Kayman
Kayman's picture

They "work" on Wall Street. And I always thought it was scheming...

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:21 | 233315 Rainman
Rainman's picture

But even Tiger's got it rough. Bimbo lawsuits, alimony, endorsement losses, tourney money gone. Before long the Hamptons will be flooded with out of work celebs and pols. This is serious now, dammit. 

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:20 | 233406 Kayman
Kayman's picture


And here I thought I had it rough with Revenues down 60% last year.

Thanks Rainman.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:52 | 233591 35Pete
35Pete's picture

They can afford the high quality heroin to kill the pain. 

I have to rely on Tester's model glue and a huff bag to escape this shithole reality. 

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:00 | 233303 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Just some simple math for you guys to think about
unemploymet - 18%
imprisoned population - 10% give or take
government employed - 17%

that leaves 55% of the working population to make enough profits in exports to pay for the 45% of gov subsidized benefits and pay.
Good luck on ever getting out of the red.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:23 | 233411 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Now don't you be giving me none of that simple math stuff.  Unless its differentiation with saddle points, I ain't believing it.


Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:19 | 233474 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Your prison figure isn't even close. As of the end of 2008, there are 754 imprisoned per 100,000 population.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:02 | 233601 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

My bad on the math. I heard the prison figure somewhere and i should have checked it out. According to wikipedia 1 in 31 adults are incarcerated and that figure is backed up by the bureau of justice statistics.

But the figure on the government employment is supposedly correct as 1 in 6 people are government employed.

Then take into account all the companies that work primarily making products for the government such as weapons technology etc and the numbers start getting scary.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 05:10 | 233735 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

still the highest in the "developed" world, is it not?

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:21 | 233478 deadhead
deadhead's picture

233303...interesting way to look at it and thank you.

we should probably add percentage of retirees on social security and medicare.......

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:05 | 233305 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

That tells me 88% of the people are smart

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:31 | 233332 chet
chet's picture

Where do you think the S&P would be right now if the market weren't rigged?  Based on the confidence of retail investors.  Would it have rebounded from last March at all?

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:10 | 233393 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Sorry but I know a lot of retail investors that have not learned a thing from the 2008 crash and believe that the market will indeed come back... thats the only reason I sometimes think that Leo is right even though I hate his guts every time he talks about buying stocks!!

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:02 | 233918 Master Bates
Master Bates's picture

I was looking at some solar charts yesterday, and a lot of them have bullish setups in the technicals...

I was like... "Huh... maybe Leo's not retarded."

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 21:32 | 233334 Dark Helmet
Dark Helmet's picture

CAPTCHA : 100 minus 88 equals how many people have their heads up their asses.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:06 | 233372 Eally Ucked
Eally Ucked's picture

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:06 | 233384 Kayman
Kayman's picture

China slipped in the Trojan Horse (Walmart), lead by their inside man (Jack Welch- hey lets Six Sigma them with bullshit like "outsourcing"), and have now crippled America.

The country is leaderless, a political elite feigning intelligence, while the country decays.

Hey People- we have the solution to the debt problem- lots more debt.  We have a solution to the jobs problem- keep letting crap in from China, and lets jawbone them some more about that  currency thing....

We need leadership, not another bought-and-paid-for talking head like Obama, Dubya, and give me a break- Palin....

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:01 | 233645 Dirtt
Dirtt's picture

Repectfully I dig where Ruductio is coming from but the one hugely overlooked wild card was not present when ....


the "chart makes it look like we're in the earlier stages of a few years of "prosperity." Look at the chart around 1991 and 2003 -- sharp multi-year drop followed by slow movement upward, the same position it's in now. Would expect it to reach about -20 in 2012 if history repeats."

Markets love gridlock.  Okay. What about political upheaval.  Threats of prosecution. Grand jury testimony. Audit the Fed. Major sweeping overhaul of the banking system.  Scott Brown had no idea what he was doing at the same time knowing exactly what he was doing.  He did what he thought was his job.  Put a steel door in front of Thelma & Louis. Oh yeah.  And shut down the largest racket ever perpetrated on contemporary civilization. (F**K CLIMATE SCIENCE)

If November pans out the way I think it will 2012 will look closer XX12 than 1991 and 2003.  And 2011 will look like XX11. That does not sound like a third bottom.  That sounds like a new island bottom with a horrid rectangle sideways pattern until the newcomers in DC - the grown ups - take cues from the voice of reason.  God knows there is plenty of that at ZH.  This site is innovative in many ways.

If you don't get involved in the political system this year then your opinion will never matter.


Pull more than your weight.


Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:11 | 233394 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

88 p p p ercent??? It makes one's c c c contrarian t t t twitch act up.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:58 | 233450 Cookie
Cookie's picture

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time....

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:05 | 233459 drwells
drwells's picture

Lincoln was too modest. If there's anything the last decade taught me, it's that you can, in fact, fool damn near all of the people, all the fucking time.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:11 | 233548 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I agree - see my comments regarding retail investors but yes its seems Americans are being fooled lock stock and barrel yet again and many (if not some) are indeed buying into the rally !!

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:36 | 233499 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

This ABC poll must be the only one talking to real people. All of the other polls are from some industry group trying to talk up the economy. Real living, working people know that the economy is in the tank. Real U6 unemployment is almost 20% so there is no way the economy could actually be improving. Now maybe the stock market is doing well because Obama and Bernanke are throwing trillions of our tax dollars away to support it, that I can believe.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:53 | 233525 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I just don't get all this whining from you ppl. Market is rigged, yes, econ sucks, yes, politicians are bought and paid for empty suits, yes, who gives a shit? THis is one of the easiest markets to trade that i've seen in a long time. So you guys park your money in some shit CD, treasury or matress or fight the tape--all because the market SHOULD go down even tho the direction and trade is obvious? give me a break, how fucking stupid are you ppl?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:46 | 233585 What a mess_man
What a mess_man's picture

So show us the way to profits and fortunes oh wise anon one.  The market will continue to go up until it doesn't, and that day draws closer by the hour.  You stay in the casino if you choose, but anyone who can't see the structural problems and global imbalances now reaching an apex after years of reckless finance and failed politics is a damn fool.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:58 | 233597 akak
akak's picture

Jim Cramer, we already told you that you are not welcome here!

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 10:29 | 233854 Postal
Postal's picture

What?! Next you'll ban Kudlow...


Wed, 02/17/2010 - 06:17 | 233755 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

There is an entire world of bad ju-ju encompassed in the phrase "econ sucks". It apparently has no real meaning to you.

Your obvious direction and trades are all well and good for those who have the disposable income to start dicking around with investments.

Some of us have to work our asses off just to keep a roof over our heads.

Some of us are in that situation because we've been fucked in the ass by the government, and the rule of law no longer holds sway.

So, smartass, you can trade. I can conduct an infantry assault. Which skill would you rather have when the wheels come off and people get really pissed off? Think about that one long and hard. How many zeroes in your bank account does it take to stop a bullet?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:31 | 233574 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

# 233525 - you think like GS.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:01 | 233599 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

Was there ever any doubt?

All we need now is for NBER to come out and say that the recession has ended. Cough [bullshit] cough.

I just love all those graphs that already show the recession as having ended. Certainly if there hadn't been any govt stimulator / porkulous spending and we saw some sign things were improving I would be more optimistic, but when the govt spends so much and the decline continues you know it's bad even when others are screaming green shoots.

And for all those who like the fallback position of, "it would have been worse had we done nothing," I got news for ya, debt don't repay itself, and I'm already taxed enough.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:23 | 233618 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

You can fool 88 percent of the people some of the time and 12 percent of the people all the time?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:53 | 233637 JR
JR's picture

Recession for the people finally comes down to where all the money is going in this New Economy and one of the major areas where it’s going is public employee retirement programs. Governments can’t cut if they don’t cut where the big money is. As for budget cuts, here are excerpts from New Jersey’s new governor Chris Christie’s Bold Budget Speech Lays It All On the Line from the Feb. 16 Rush Limbaugh transcript:

"The special interests have already begun to scream their favorite word, which, coincidentally, is my nine-year-old son's favorite word when we are making him do something he knows is right but does not want to do -- 'unfair.'  Let's tell our citizens the truth -- today, right now -- about what failing to do strong reforms costs them.  One state retiree, 49 years old, paid, over the course of his entire career, a total of $124,000 towards his retirement pension and health benefits. What will we pay him?" and I had this yesterday "$3.3 million in pension payments over his life and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits -- a total of $3.8m on a $120,000 investment. Is that fairA retired teacher paid $62,000 towards her pension and nothing -- yes, nothing -- for full family medical, dental and vision coverage over her entire career.

"What will we pay her?  $1.4 million in pension benefits and another $215,000 in health care benefit premiums over her lifetime. Is it 'fair' for all of us and our children to have to pay for this excess?  The total unfunded pension and medical benefit costs [in New Jersey] are $90 billion. We would have to pay...$7 billion per year to make them current. We don't have that money -- you know it and I know it. What has been done to our citizens by offering a pension system we cannot afford and health benefits that are 41% more expensive than the average fortune 500 company's costs is the truly unfair part of this equation. ... Suburban districts will sacrifice.  Urban districts will sacrifice.  Rural districts will sacrifice.  Some, both inside and outside this chamber, will urge you to retreat to the corner and protect your own piece of turf.  Our state is in crisis.  Our people are hurting.”

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 06:19 | 233756 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

There will be no "sacrifice".

There will be the end of the world as you know it. Obligations that cannot be met, will not be met.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 05:39 | 233745 asdf
asdf's picture

Hatzius forecasts 10,5% unemployment for Q2 2011. Nice.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:01 | 233913 Master Bates
Master Bates's picture

88% of respondents couldn't locate America on a world map if they had to.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:22 | 233948 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Relax everyone, we have a "community organizer" at the helm!

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 12:23 | 234070 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Re Gov. Christie: I wonder if this is yet another way to dismantle the unions? Only 9% of the country is in a union but now states are in the crapper and can't pay police, fire, and teachers not only their current salaries but future retirement and benefit packages. Certainly the average citizen, who doesn't have this kind of money or benefits, is going to balk at higher taxes. Here in PA, Gov. Rendell admitted that we face a 25% rise in school and property taxes to pay for government raises and pensions.

As for most of the U.S. knowing we've tanked, all one has to do is drive around and look at the for sale and for rent signs. Or look at friends and neighbors who can't find jobs and whose adult kids have moved back home. With a brain-dead corporate whore Congress, don't expect Washington to come to our rescue. And for the global warming deniers--wake up, the erratic weather has screwed a lot of crops world wide; expect really high prices for fruit, juice, and anything that uses sugar. That's why I've been stocking up on food, alternative forms of energy, and I have a couple of rifles.

Mon, 04/19/2010 - 08:49 | 307629 Tom123456
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