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Consumer Comfort: Disappointing U-Turn

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TWO-WEEK RALLY IS OVER …

After matching its post-recessionary peak last week, consumer comfort in America has experienced an abrupt reversal.

Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index (CCI) dipped 1.9 points this week – from 45.3 to 43.4 (out of 100).  Driving this decline?  Steep dips in Americans’ views of their personal finances and the broader buying climate.

We welcomed this measure’s recent upticks last month, although we noted at the time that we didn’t think they presaged “enhanced consumer activity.”

“Our view is that this two-week increase represents a solitary aberrant spike in the data,” we wrote last week.

So far that appears to be the case …

(Click to enlarge)

cci trendline sept 2 2016

(Chart via Langer Research Associates)

What happened?  Well, disappointing GDP data probably didn’t help … but the fundamentals of the American economy remain weak.  And unsustainable.

Compiled weekly by Langer Research Associates, the CCI measures Americans’ ratings of the national economy, their personal finances and the broader buying climate.  The main index – and each of its three subindices – range from zero (bad) to 100 (good).

According to the latest data (.pdf), the personal finances index fell 2.4 points to 55.4 – while the buying climate dipped 2.6 points to 39.8.

Here’s a look at the subindices …

(Click to enlarge)

cci subindices sept 2

(Chart via Langer Research Associates)

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again … America has everything it needs to turn things around.  Or “make its economy great again,” as a certain 2016 presidential candidate likes to say.

Unfortunately, “Republicans” and Democrats in Washington, D.C. continue to embrace unrestrained deficit spendingcrony capitalist trade deals, the perpetual incentivizing of dependency, wide open borders, incessant global warmongeringsocialized medicine and ill-conceived money-printing.

As a result, the economy is limping along.

Growth will never return to this country unless these policies are reversed … and replaced by policies which incentivize productivity, investment and consumerism.  More often that not, those “replacement” policies simply involve government getting the hell out of the way and letting the marketplace do its thing.

A novel approach, huh?

(Banner image via iStock)

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