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Seven Years Later, Economic Concerns Still Linger - 5/28/15

Next month, America will officially begin its seventh year of economic recovery.  Despite that, there are many people who remain unenthusiastic regarding U.S. economic performance.  The most recent reading of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Confidence Index unexpectedly fell more than seven points to a reading below eighty nine. 

The monthly decline in the index was the largest since December twenty twelve.  Analysts had thought the index would linger at around ninety six.  Moreover, the average American appears to have become more concerned about losing their jobs.  Respondents to the survey reported the highest probability of losing their jobs since two thousand and nine.  As reported in Bloomberg, the decline in sentiment was widespread across all age categories, all regions of the country and all income subgroups. 

One positive for the near-term performance of the economy is that more Americans appear convinced that gas prices remain relatively low for an extended period of time.  Many Americans have yet to spend their fuel savings, in part because of a belief that fuel prices would simply return to roughly where they had been.  That belief appears to have shifted, which could translate into more consumer spending during the months ahead.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.