Consumer confidence dived in August to its lowest level since right after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Though not as steep as expected, the drop reflects the squeeze stock market uncertainty and lower home values are putting on Americans' wallets and peace of mind, Bloomberg reports. "The things that are weighing on the consumer are getting pretty imposing," says one economist.
The snowballing effect of the housing slump, which makes it particularly hard for Americans to tap into home equity, is reflected in the Conference Board numbers released today. Consumers are pessimistic about job and income growth, trends reflected in other indices of confidence. On the bright side, falling gas prices continue to provide some relief.