If you’ve figured that the Q4 stock market plunge and the government shutdown has/had weighed on the consumer’s psyche, you’ve figured correctly. Today’s Conference Board’s consumer confidence survey release is concerning!
White line represents the consumer’s view of present conditions (still good), the yellow represents his/her expectations (not still good):
Note the look prior to the past 3 recessions (red shaded areas).
While, as you noticed, there are other periods of declining expectations — along with a wide gap separating them from present conditions — that didn’t immediately precede a contraction (at this point, we don’t believe this one will either), there is one particular headwind that could indeed have us staring down recessionary conditions sooner than we otherwise would have.
Hopefully the folks negotiating trade with China this week are taking notice…