Consumer Confidence Takes a Plunge

The Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply last month, falling to 46.0 from 56.5 in January. For perspective, the Index stood at 100 in 1985 during boom times.

February 23, 2010
By Allison Landa, News Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user faceless_b

As NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun was announcing the results of the latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook Report on Tuesday, he said that the retail sector and rental markets will be bolstered should consumer confidence improve.

However, the Conference Board cast a pall on that prediction today. The Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply last month, falling to 46.0 from 56.5 in January. For perspective, the Index stood at 100 in 1985 during boom times.

Based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households, the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted for The Conference Board by custom research company TNS.

When announcing the results, Conference Board Consumer Research Center director Lynn Franco said: “Consumers’ short-term outlook … took a turn for the worse, with fewer consumers anticipating an improvement in business conditions and the job market over the next six months.”

She added that consumers are similarly pessimistic about income expectations and are likely to continue to curb spending.

Other indices fell as well. The Present Situation Index was down to 19.4 from 25.2 in January, while the Expectations Index fell to 63.8 from 77.3 in January. Franco noted that the President Situation Index was at its lowest level since 1983, when it hit 17.5.

Tuesday was not an encouraging day so far as numbers are concerned. NAR stated that there will not be a meaningful commercial real estate recovery until 2011 due to lingering recession fallout as well as a shaky job market and higher vacancy rates.