Consumer Confidence Up; Really?
The latest reports indicate that consumer confidence is going up all around the world, including here in the United States. Frankly, I’m trying to understand this, because I haven’t seen all that much that leads me to believing it’s happening at all.
Sure, the stock market has gone back up above 8,000, but I’m not sure that’s really an indicator that consumers are more confident. I mean, in the last week we’ve had GM post a multi-billion dollar loss and learned they’re about to declare bankruptcy; Chevron’s profits dropped 64% the first quarter of this year; American Express is reworking its debt issues and might need a big piece of the bailout money; and Mastercard’s profits dropped also.
In my local area, unemployment is now around 8%, and a couple of major industries are either closing their doors or moving more jobs out of the area. One, Crucible Steel, suddenly declared bankruptcy this week, throwing the area into a shock, although some analysts saw it coming.
Consumer confidence, even as more and more people have lost pretty good paying jobs and are struggling to find something to latch onto that pays more than minimum wage. Even in my main consulting field, an industry that should be providing a lot of work, especially in these days where people with my specialty could be helping clients bring in untold amounts of profit and cash, opportunities are dwindling because the potential clients are scared that their dollars are going to be cut, and are afraid to spend because of it.
I’m sorry, but I’m missing the confidence part. Wait; it must be the draw of movies, where profits seem to be ahead of last year at this time, and will only continue over the summer as this year’s list of blockbusters look imminently better than last year. Unfortunately, I don’t believe anyone considers the economy based on movie profits.
So, let me ask this question; just how confident are you feeling these days about the economy? Are you spending your money yet, and I mean on things you want, not on bills? Please let me know; maybe I’m wrong on this whole thing.
But I don’t think so.