While not considered in the same category as the UMichigan or the Conference Board confidence indices, the Bloomberg (formerly ABC) Consumer Comfort index, which is just as familiar with statistical sampling and using phones as the prior two (and does not share their penchant for calling Wall Street execs to break any market downward trend), just found that the week of September 4 saw consumer confidence drop from -49.1 to -49.3, the second lowest in 2011. Worse is that confidence in the state of the economy has now plunged to the lowest since 2009, or basically since the market generational lows, confirming that "confidence" is nothing but a way of saying popular perception of the S&P, pardon Russell 2000. Lastly, and worstly, while the the confidence of of $100K+ earners dropped to -18.2 from -15.1, the confidence, whatever that means, of those earning the least is now at a record low. Luckily, this is certainly not the social group most targeted by Obama in his reelection bid. Oh wait, nevermind.
Here is what the State of the Economy subindex looked like:
U.S. consumer confidence last week fell to the second-lowest level this year as Americans grew more pessimistic about the world’s largest economy.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was minus 49.3 in the period to Sept. 4 compared with minus 49.1 the previous week. This year’s low of minus 49.4 was reached in May, when gasoline prices were the highest in three years. While the drop was within the survey’s 3-point margin of error, the index has been stuck below minus 40 -- the level associated with recessions or their aftermath -- since the end of February.
“Falling sentiment indicates signs of growing distress in the consumer sector,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. The results reflect “a labor market that has seized up and the lagged effects of inflation that is effectively reducing the purchasing power of households.”
Confidence among the lowest-income earners, or those making less than $15,000 a year, dropped to minus 90.8, a record low in data available since the mid-1990s. For those who earn more than $100,000 a year, the index worsened to minus 18.2, the 17th consecutive week of negative readings that in part reflect stock market losses.
Unemployed Americans’ confidence index dropped to minus 61.6 last week, the lowest level since November.
The jobs report has raised the political stakes for President Barack Obama as he prepares to address a joint session of Congress today. The Bloomberg confidence survey results suggest “he’ll face a tough audience,” Langer said.
Wrong: the president will have the most pathologically appathetic audience in the history of America, as nobody in this country cares what happens any more.