The danger of this time is that you stop to watch, wonder about what will come next. The parameters that you assessed the future with — economic, social, political — are all at play. You can’t assume, and now there isn’t much confidence that you can project either.
What does the utter climate of uncertainty do to people? It erodes confidence. Here are the October readings on Consumer Confidence from The Conference Board:
“The Conference Board said the consumer confidence index fell to 38, down from a revised 61.4 in September and significantly below analysts’ expectations of 52.”
The lowest level since the Index was started in 1967 and the third-steepest drop ever.
That makes you think. Confidence was as 1.00 in 1967 and is 52 points lower today. I poked around on the web to get a feel for when other low points were reached, and found the following reference.
Is consumer confidence at an “all-time low”? The media say yes, but the facts say no.
“The market is tumbling, while oil prices are soaring; consumer confidence at an all-time low,” reported Savannah Guthrie on the NBC “Nightly News” Jan. 12, 2008, adding, “unemployment at a two-year high; retailers reporting the weakest holiday sales in five years; housing values are plummeting.”
But the lowest Consumer Confidence Index of all time, according to the Conference Board, which tracks and reports confidence data, came in December 1974, when the index was at 43.2.
January’s number, the most recent available, was 87.9. The last index released before Guthrie’s report was 90.5 for December 2007.
Conflicting information, yes. Context and perspective also.