Earlier today, the US Census released its latest homeownership data, which confirmed that for what is left of America's middle class, owning a home has become virtually impossible, with the homeownership rate plunging from the lowest level since 1986, or 63.7%, to just 63.4% the lowest reading since the first quarter of 1967. And the punchline, which should come as no surprise to anyone: with housing no longer affordable to most, the median monthly asking rent just rose to a record $803 across the US.
The Conference Board just reported that US Consumer Confidence, having bounced in June, has collapsed in July (and saw the bounce revised drastically lower). At 90.9, this is the lowest since September 2014 and is below the lowest economist estimate. More worrying is the crash in "hope" - as consumer expectations plunge from 92.8 to 79.9 (lowest since Feb 2014). This should not be a surprise since Gallup has been indicating fading confidence in its weekly survey for a while. 57% of Americans believe the US economy is "getting worse," which has left Gallup's Economic Confidence Index tumbling to its lowest in 10 months.
Despite all her proclamations of new fairness doctrines, false promises of her truthfulness, and exclamations of 'everyday Americanism' Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeing her favorability ratings collapse. As populist as she dares to be, in the face of her donating captors, it appears the everyday American just isn't buying it as Gallup reports just 43% Americans view her favorably (down from 66% just a few years ago) while none other than Bernie Sanders is bounding up the popularity ladder, rising from 12% to 24% favorability in recent weeks.
57% of Americans see the US economy "getting worse," according to Gallup's latest survey, sending 'hope' to its lowest since September. Overall economic confidence slipped once again, despite the Greek deal, now at its lowest since October. It appears rising gas prices trump the rising stock prices when it comes to the average joe in America.
As Gallup's Consumer Confidence plunges, The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence explodes higher from 94.6 to 101.4 (smashing expectations of 97.4). After missing by the most in 5 years in April, higher gas prices, market instability, and growing social unrest appear to be the perfect recipe for improved consumer confidence as The Conference Board data nears the highest since 2007. The biggest driver of the headline spike is the surge in "expectations" - in other words, hope - which jumped from 86.2 to 94.6, although expectations for higher incomes finally began to drop back to reality.
The shining future that America once had is all but a page note in the history books now. Record numbers not in the workforce, failed foreign policies and domestic strife is the new normal. And how is the brain trust in DC going to solve these problems? National service for all 18 - to 28-year-olds!
Though we may think of collapse in terms of ATMs not working and rampaging mobs, collapse actually starts with the intangible loss of faith in public institutions: elected officials, law enforcement, the justice system and the agencies of financial regulation (anti-trust, etc.). Unsurprisingly to those who discern the structural rot of the status quo, Americans No Longer Believe In Their Institutions:
Despite near-record high equity prices, it appears soaring gas prices, stagnant incomes, and unaffordable homes are weighing on the American consumer far more than talking-heads would have investors believe. Gallup's latest economic confidence index re-tumbled to -9, 2015 lows and the lowest since Nov 2014. What is worse is the spread between current conditions and the outlook is gapping with hope for the future at its lowest since the end of QE3 after peaking In Feb.
How can you measure happiness? The mental or emotional state, the smiley well-being feeling that is so individual and yet we measure happiness, we study it, we analyze it, we even celebrate it on March 20th every year, but what is it?
On a year-over-year basis, average spending in May of 2015 was $7 less than 2014, and nearly identical to 2013, when the US unemployment rate was nearly 3% higher, and the economy was supposedly sputtering badly enough for the Fed to launch QE3. Finally, as the chart below shows, this was the biggest month of May consumer spending drop in nominal dollar terms since the 2008 financial crisis.
According to Gallup, America is now fatter than it has ever been before. But how can this possibly be? After all, Americans spend an astounding 60 billion dollars a year on weight loss programs and products. After putting so much time, effort and energy into losing weight, shouldn’t we be some of the healthiest people on the entire planet?
Following the collapse in Gallup's consumer confidence and Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort, UMich Consumer Senitment printed 90.7 (against expectations of a rise to 89.5 from 95.9). With May's preliminary print the biggest miss in 17 months, this final drop leaves Consumer Sentiment at its lowest since November 2014. Hope dropped from 88.8 to 84.2 but it was the collapse in Current conditions - which fell from 107 to 100.8 - that crushed the headline. This is the biggest plunge in current conditions since Summer 2011 (the US debt downgrade). Business expectations plunged to 8-month lows, employment expectations tumbled... but the number who think it's a good time to buy a house rose.
With business confidence collapsing, Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort index - after dropping to its lowest since December - plunged once again this week to 40.9 (from 42.4). This is the lowest since Novemeber and extends the losing streak to 7 weeks - something we have not seen sionce May 2008. This confirms Gallup's weekly tracking of consumer confidence dropped back to its lowest levels since early December 2014 with 53% of Americans now saying the economy is getting worse. Despite all the exuberance over lower oil prices, Consumer Comfort in The South is crashing. Perhaps even worse - for a consumer-driven economy - is that the "buying-climate"suffered its biggest drop since Dec 2011.