Consumers were a gloomy group in November, when housing and job woes drove the consumer confidence index down to a level not seen since October 2005, when Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath loomed large. “This is a strong indication that consumer spending growth is going to slow sharply,” one economist tells Bloomberg.
The index dropped from October’s 95.2 to 87.3, well below analysts' predictions. The number reflects a seemingly endless housing slump and gasoline prices over $3 a gallon. The Conference Board’s index also puts great stock in employment, where news was not good. An average 330,000 workers filed first-time unemployment claims each week this month, compared to just 306,000 in July.