American consumer confidence faltered in the month of December to the lowest level its been since July, and by the most in 41 years, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The news is a harbinger of sorts, as Americans get less optimistic about things while the stock market falls and economic growth slows.
The confidence level went from 136.4 to 128.1. That number is lower than every prediction by Bloomberg, which conducted a survey and got to a number of 133.5. Also, the amount of people expecting more jobs in the next half-year went from 22.7 percent to 16.6, which is the biggest drop since 1977.
Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the New York-based Conference Board, which collected the data, said the news doesn’t bode well for those expecting more economic boon.
“Back-to-back declines in expectations are reflective of an increasing concern that the pace of economic growth will begin moderating in the first half of 2019,” Franco said.
Many factors are in play when trying to understand the data: the trade war, President Trump’s fight with the Federal Reserve, a weaker economic outlook and a cooling housing and manufacturing market.
The data also illustrated an admission that many people weren’t planning on buying any big-ticket items — like cars or major appliances — in the next six months.
Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities, said while the new information might not spell certain doom for the economy, it’s important to keep a close eye on.
“(It) is not a disaster, as the level of the headline gauge is merely back to near where it spent the first seven months of this year,” Stanley said. “However, it will definitely be worthwhile to keep a close eye on the various measures of consumer attitudes over the next few months to get a feel for whether and how the dive in stock prices might be affecting consumers’ collective psyche.”