The latest Conference Board measurement of consumer confidence is out. It recorded another decline, marking the fourth straight month the index fell, and surprised experts who’d predicted a smaller drop in consumer confidence.
I’m skeptical about efforts to measure consumer confidence in a country as large and diverse as America. I wasn’t consulted. Were any of our readers? (How about a show of hands?) And the only surprising thing, really, is that economic experts would be surprised about their inability to forecast something as unpredictable as consumer sentiment. Economists are almost always wrong in their predictions. Why do you think Thomas Carlyle called economics “the dismal science”? The weather forecast on my iPhone AccuWeather forecast is far more reliable than the musings of out-of-touch economists.
No one in the real world is surprised that consumer confidence is slipping. Economists do things like measure whether rates of decline in one month are smaller than the rates of decline in the prior month, and conclude that things are getting better. People in the real world don’t think that way — we just see that decline is continuing. Where’s the cause for optimism that significant job creation will finally start in this recession that has lingered for almost four years now?