Business

Business

Confidence soars, but wallets still shut

May 27, 2009

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— Even with unemployment still rising and home prices still slumping, Americans are getting their confidence back in the economy.

A widely watched barometer of confidence unexpectedly rose to the highest level since September, buoyed by an unexpected surge in the stock market, hopes that the job market might turn around and the belief that the worst of the recession is behind us.

But don’t expect shoppers to buy expensive jeans and fancy furniture anytime soon.

“Consumers are not likely to spend just because they think things will get better,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wachovia. “They will actually have to see them get better.”

As a testament to the economy’s challenges, a closely monitored housing index also released Tuesday showed home prices fell at the sharpest rate ever in the first quarter, though the drop-off was worse at the beginning of the quarter.

Meanwhile, Americans are grappling with an unemployment rate that’s expected to climb to 9.2 percent in May, up from 8.9 percent, as companies lay off more workers.

That has helped push shoppers to keep shopping at discount stores and cutting back on nonessentials.

Comments

jaywalker 6 years ago

I feel ya, Nancy. Last Newsweek I picked up had the cover "Obama on Obama". And articles like this are a dime a dozen. I fully believe they're full of it, but I will concede that "confidence pumping" newspaper fluff is probably the only trick in the bag right now.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

"I fully believe they're full of it, but I will concede that “confidence pumping” newspaper fluff is probably the only trick in the bag right now."

Have you ever considered the possibility that filling the media with positive stories in an attempt to bolster confidence might actually be one of the more effective methods available? All of this talk about regulations or lack thereof, whichever party is in control, fiscal methods etc. seem, in reality, to have much less bearing on the state of our economy than whether the consumers feel safe or feel threatened.

/of course, that might be because all of the former aspects never seem to actually change that much, it's just how they're discussed.

beawolf 6 years ago

Tom & Jaywalker,

If millions of people did not want to read about the Obamas, they would not be in the magazines. The media goes with what sells. If you don't want to read about them, don't. The conspiracy issue is a paranoiac attempt to justify your (failed) political views.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Keep buying liquor and ammo. Zombie riots by June.

repaste 6 years ago

Poor Tommy J is right, the perceptions are all that change, the people/policies change very little, if at all,.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Worth repeating: “28 March 2009 at 6:40 p.m. beobachter (Anonymous) says… …Ok, I'm done, you don't need to ban my account, I won't be back.”

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Radio and TV news media are predicting a ton of Optional ARM loans will be added to the large pile of foreclosures. As we speak they are going under. Soon they see an avalanche on the horizon.

Speculation is maybe two years for any improvement in the housing market. Job losses and future job losses are the culprits.

Yet Senator Roberts and other once republicans obstruct every effort to create a new industry. They sit idly by as jobs and more jobs go abroad. All it would take would be removing USA tax incentives that make it lucrative for USA corporate america to ship jobs abroad. It's hard to believe that elected officals would participate in moving USA jobs abroad..... this is either corruption and/or ignorance.

As I sit and watch how easily politicians are manipulated by campaign finance and industry rhetoric it is apparent to me that our politicians do not know much and do no homework on the side to shed light on the real facts.

They use industry rhetoric as the source for making decisions. If they spent as much time actually researching as they do chasing campaign dollars(6-8 hours a day) things might be different.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

The USA economy would not be in shambles had it not been for the irresponsible NOT economic giants of time BUSHCO.

How the Financial Bailout Scams Taxpayers, Subsidizes Wall Street, and Props Up Our Broken Financial System

By Andy Kroll, Tomdispatch.com

Six ways the financial bailout is completely scamming the taxpayers

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/140258/how_the_financial_bailout_scams_taxpayers%2C_subsidizes_wall_street%2C_and_props_up_our_broken_financial_system/

Wall St. and the Media Are Trying to Make Us Forget Who Started the Financial Crash By Les Leopold, AlterNet. Posted May 20, 2009.

We're at the moment Wall Street has been waiting for: The time where we begin to forget who brought the economy down.

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/140123/wall_st._and_the_media_are_trying_to_make_us_forget_who_started_the_financial_crash/

jaywalker 6 years ago

"Have you ever considered the possibility that filling the media with positive stories in an attempt to bolster confidence might actually be one of the more effective methods available?"

Is that not what you read in my quote you pasted, jonas? If not, that is exactly what I meant, though I chose to see it as factless fluff instead of positive stories. With the absence of real progress I do believe 'propoganda' is the only way to go.

beawolf,

Sorry, but I never said nothin' 'bout 'conspiracy theories', and I don't read the majority of the Obama puff pieces. I could give a rat's fanny what the majority "wants" to read or that the media is propping up what sells. What I do care about is a gushing lovefest over unimportant, nonsensical fluff. From a portuguese water dog and Michelle's effect on the fashion world to the President doing a tourney bracket on ESPN, his opinions on the BCS, or how he's the first CIC since JFK able to show his abs, the media has concerned themselves with creating an icon more suitable for TMZ rather than impartially reporting on the President. Put a Republican in the White House now and have the media conduct themselves in the same fashion, the shrill outrage would be deafening, people screaming from the rafters that there's way more important things to focus on, both by the media and the man. That being said, I can't remember the last time the right had anyone as engaging or charismatic (if ever) as BO, and I get the fascination. But it can't continue. That popular song gets downright nauseating with overplay/overkill.

salad 6 years ago

"When will my head explode?"

When indeed Tommy-boy....when indeed.

"Like when I went into a-fib last September and thought I was going to croak right there in my kitchen–impending doom–this is it–it's over."

tease....a REAL man would follow through.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years ago

"Last Newsweek I picked up had the cover “Obama on Obama”.

When you picked it up, you gave Newsweek $5 worth of reasons to run more coverage on Obama.

Do some people really have that little understanding of what a "free market" is?

jonas_opines 6 years ago

"If not, that is exactly what I meant, though I chose to see it as factless fluff instead of positive stories. With the absence of real progress I do believe 'propoganda' is the only way to go."

Not quite what I meant, though. Consider the possibility that any economy is basically, on it's own, just factless fluff, built on trust and confidence. Thus, the only positive solution that works is to improve confidence and trust, and any other proposed solution is nothing more than B.S.

/just a theory.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Gotcha, jonas. And I have to agree.

cthlhu,

Picked it up at the dentist's office. I won't pay for Newsweek anymore, and the only thing I miss is Zakariah's columns.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years ago

"Picked it up at the dentist's office. I won't pay for Newsweek anymore, and the only thing I miss is Zakariah's columns."

And now that dentists office will make sure to keep their subscription to Newsweek running so that their happy customers can get their Obama and Zakarriah fixes!

Free market wins again!

jaywalker 6 years ago

Sweet cheese and rice, cthulhu. Your 'point' was weak the first time. You really wanna put it out there that you're silly enough to believe the receptionist at the dentist's office was vigilant over which magazine outta the 50 they had scattered around I picked up? For the record, it was the only one in sight not named Cosmo and Good Housekeeping. Had and will have nothing to do with the 'free market'. Get a grip.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years ago

Jaywalker: My grip is fine. The fact remains: the office won't buy it if people didn't read it! How many issues of "Guns and Ammo" or "Guitar World" were there? Probably not many. The only 'point' I was ever trying to make is that any visions of a corrupt liberal media are hilarious at best. The media prints what the people want to read. If you don't like what they're printing, then don't read it. (not even a newspaper in the waiting room? Shame on them!)

jaywalker 6 years ago

"My grip is fine. The fact remains: the office won't buy it if people didn't read it! How many issues of “Guns and Ammo” or “Guitar World” were there?"

Your grip is fine? The office won't buy it if people didn't read it? A magazine doesn't get printed if people don't read it, brain trust. And if the 'only point' you were trying to make was.....blah blah blah....then perhaps you should attempt to reference 'blah blah blah' in some fashion or form and not rant about the free market's effect on periodontal office periodicals. Please cite where you referred in any fashion to someone's take on 'corrupt liberal media'. It certainly hasn't been clear that's "the only point (you were) ever trying to make."

"If you don't like what they're printing, then don't read it"

Gee, thanks for that brilliant and deep advice.

pace 6 years ago

I am praying that the world will turn upside down and we will change from a consumer economy to a sustainable economy.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years ago

"Your grip is fine?"

Flexes hand. Yes. My grip is fine.

"The office won't buy it if people didn't read it?"

Do you get some satisfaction out of repeating what I've said, only as a question? Does it reduce the truth of my statements somehow?

'And if the 'only point' you were trying to make was…..blah blah blah…."

What an intelligent discussion we're having here. What, exactly is your point?

"Please cite where you referred in any fashion to someone's take on 'corrupt liberal media' "

Tom Shewmon, 7:10 a.m. followed by your agreement at 7:52 a.m. Good enough?

" It certainly hasn't been clear that's “the only point (you were) ever trying to make"

Ok, whatever to that one. I can't help what you perceive as the point to my "rants". If it was over your head, then that's too bad.

"Gee, thanks for that brilliant and deep advice."

You're welcome. Whatever helps. I still don't know what the point of your post was, but hopefully you feel better. Remember to take your blood pressure meds.

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