President Barack Obama recently said the private economy is “doing fine.” His odd appraisal of the economy quickly became the subject of campaign ads ran by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other political opponents.
Obama’s controversial assessment, regardless of context, does not square with that of the American people, according to a Bloomberg.com report.
In reality, confidence among U.S. consumers declined in June to a five-month low. Late in the final quarter of Obama’s term, Americans hold a pessimistic view of the labor market and declining incomes it has produced.
The Conference Board’s index dropped for a fourth straight month, to 62 from a revised 64.4 in the prior month, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of economists as surveyed by Bloomberg News expected consumer confidence would drop to 63, but Americans slammed by rising unemployment and a string of bad jobs reports are not feeling optimistic.
“The employment situation continues to weigh on consumer minds,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, who correctly forecast the confidence index. “Usually consumers react to falling gasoline prices by increasing their spending, but this time around it looks like they’re a little bit cautious.”
Estimates for the gauge of consumer confidence ranged from 58 to 66.8 in the Bloomberg survey of 69 economists.
Today’s Conference Board measure supports the results of a Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index which dropped last week after a four-week climb. Another consumer confidence survey, The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary measure, for June, dropped to 74.1, its lowest level this year.