Despite the passage of the Obama Administration’s economic stimulus package last week, consumer confidence has slipped to an all-time low.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased moderately in January, declined in February to 25.0, down from 37.4 in January. The Present Situation Index declined to 21.2 from 29.7 last month, and the Expectations Index decreased to 27.5 from 42.5 in January.
Consumers’ appraisal of overall current conditions worsened further. The survey participants claiming business conditions are “bad” rose to 51.1% from 47.9%, though the respondents saying business conditions are “good” actually edged up to 6.8% from 6.5% last month.
The future outlook is bleak as well. Consumers anticipating business conditions will worsen over the next six months increased to 40.5% from 31.1%, while those expecting conditions to improve declined to 8.7% from 12.8% in January.
The February poll reflected the scary job market: The percentage of consumers that say jobs are “hard to get” increased to 47.8% from 41.1% in January, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” fell to 4.4% from 7.1%.
The consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead increased to 47.3% from 36.9%, while those anticipating more jobs declined to 7.1% from 9.1%. The number of respondents expecting an increase in their incomes declined to 7.6% from 10.3%.
The monthly survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households; the cutoff date for February’s preliminary results was Feb. 18.