How is this for understatement of the month? Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s Research Center, says the “financial crisis over the last several weeks has clearly taken a toll on consumer’s confidence.”
The CB has been keeping consumer stats since 1967. That means consumers today are less confident than they were during some dicey days of the past.
Those unsettling times include Robert Kennedy/Martin Luther King assassinations, urban riots, anti-war demonstrations, Vietnam withdrawal, Watergate, Nixon’s resignation, raging inflation, Three Mile Island, Arab oil boycott, Iranian hostage crisis, discomania, Cold War tensions, Iran-Contra, “Black Monday,” Clinton impeachment, Florida recount, 2001-02 recession, Sept. 11, attack on Afghanistan, White House deceptions, Iraq invasion/occupation and skyrocketing energy costs.
American consumers toughed out those situations, but appear to be at wit’s end in the aftermath of the Wall Street meltdown. CB says 36.6 percent of its respondents believe things will get worse over the next six months. That’s up from 21.0 percent in September.
Maybe their words will cheer some up. We sure could use it. Fewer than one in 10 (9.2 percent) of the 5,000 households contacted by CB’s poll believe business conditions are “good.” They must be in the home foreclosure, bill collector or bankruptcy law businesses.