U.S. Consumer Confidence Nosedives

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The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index declined by 5.4  points, or 10%, in November, posting 48.6 vs. 54 in October.  The index is 0.4 points above its 12-month average of 48.2, 4.2 points above its reading of 44.4 in December 2007 when the economy entered into the recession, and 1.3 points below its all-time average of 49.9.

 

Note: Index readings above 50 indicate optimism; below 50 indicate pessimism.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index has a good track record of foreshadowing the confidence indicators put out later each month by the University of Michigan and The Conference Board.  IBD/TIPP conducted the national poll of 606 adults from November 8 to November 11. The margin of error is +/-4.0 percentage points.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index has three key components.  This month, two of the three components declined.

•    The Six-Month Economic Outlook, a measure of how consumers feel about the economy’s prospects in the next six months, dropped 12.3 points, or 20.8%, to 46.8.  The sub-index was 32.1 when the economy entered the last recession in December 2007.

•    The Personal Financial Outlook, a measure of how Americans feel about their own finances in the next six months, declined 5.0 points, or 8.3%, to 55.5.
 
•    Confidence in Federal Economic Policies, a proprietary IBD/TIPP measure of views on how government economic policies are working rose 1.1 points, or 2.6%, to reach 43.5.
    
"Last month economic optimism surged, mainly driven by Republican hopes of taking the White House.  But optimism among Republicans fell sharply in November after Romney’s loss.  Also, recent stock market losses, gas prices and high unemployment are hurting confidence,” said Raghavan Mayur, president of TIPP, a unit of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, IBD's polling partner.

“This weakness confirms the more than 3% drop in major stock indexes since the election,” said Terry Jones, associate editor of Investor’s Business Daily. “Optimism among investors plunged 19% in November, from 53.2 to 43.1, while it remained flat for non-investors. Whether you voted for him or not, Obama’s re-election has been a major market event.”

The Breakdown

This month, 10 of the 21 demographic groups that IBD/TIPP tracks were above 50 on the Economic Optimism Index. Only one group improved on the component and nineteen declined, and one remained the same as October.
 
On the Economic Outlook component, 7 of the 21 groups that IBD/TIPP tracks scored in optimistic territory.   One groups improved on the component and twenty declined.

On the Personal Financial component, 17 of the 21 of the groups IBD/TIPP tracks scored in optimistic territory. Three groups improved on the component and eighteen declined.

On the Federal Policies component, four of the 21 demographic groups tracked were above 50.  Eleven groups advanced on the component and ten declined.

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