Gas Prices Prompt Consumer Confidence to Fade to Five-Month Low

Submitted by Jen Jones on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 7:53am

Gas Prices Prompt Consumer Confidence to Fade to Five-Month Low

In this uncertain economic landscape, good news is often met with great skepticism, especially for those who were hardest hit during the past five years of what’s now called our “Great Recession.” Yet despite some signs of national growth, this skepticism may now continue to be a part of at least the first half of 2011, as a major indicator of the strength of the America’s economic machine reveals that we’re still very much in the throes of our own Great Economic Malaise.

According to recent report from Reuters, gasoline prices prompted a decline in consumer confidence in polls from early March. “The preliminary March reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 68.2, down from 77.5 in February. That was the lowest level since October 2010 and was well off the median forecast of 76.5 among economists polled by Reuters. ‘It is quite disappointing. It shows there are going to be some headwinds to consumer spending now that gasoline prices are on the rise from Middle East and North Africa worries,’ said Sean Incremona, economist at 4Cast Ltd in New York.”

Despite this fall in consumer sentiment and greater economic uncertainty in recent months, consumer spending remained strong during the same period, with retailers reporting their greatest gains in four months “as shoppers stepped up purchases of autos, clothes and other goods.”

While this bump in retail figures is a good sign for a national financial picture fueled by an economy built on consumption, it is nevertheless a bad sign for the nation’s individual consumers—already overleveraged by the housing crisis, high unemployment and rising unsecured debt loads—who may be signaling that they are returning to their troubling pre-recessionary spending habits.  And even though average Americans were encouraged to pay down debt and build up savings in the years following the recent Recession, according to a recent analysis of consumer debt, residents in all states of the union are still maintaining an average of more than $10,000 in consumer debt.

"’There could be some economic uncertainty going forward. The retail numbers are…positive, but there is probably a big question mark over that now,’ Incremona said. The survey's barometer of current economic conditions was at 83.6, down from 86.9 the month before and below a forecast of 86.0. The survey's gauge of consumer expectations tumbled to 58.3 from 71.6, the lowest level since March 2009. Inflation concerns were still high, with the survey's one-year inflation expectation rising to 4.6 percent from 3.4 percent in February, the highest since August 2008.”

As a result, even as the economy continues its slow recovery and consumer confidence fades as quickly as sub-$3 gas prices, confidence in the benefits of bankruptcy continues to rise. If your own budget has been syphoned by high credit card or medical debt, looming repossessions or even fears of foreclosure, it may be good time to take your financial future into your own hands.

The first step is knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney who can help you regain your power, conquer creditors and face your financial fears, yielding—all with the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future.  The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

 

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