ABC NEWS/WASHINGTON POST CONSUMER INDEX – 8/19/07
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE AFTER 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007
Consumer Confidence Tanks
in Sharpest Drop in 20 Years
Consumer confidence sustained its steepest one-week drop in more than
20 years of ongoing polls this week, falling to its lowest level
since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in late October 2005.
Finally events are beginning to catch up with consumer spending. Consumers may spend less and cause a decline in production or even a depression.
The ABC News/Washington Post Consumer Comfort Index lost an
extraordinary nine points to -20 on its scale of +100 to -100, down
from -11 last week and a summertime high of -5 four weeks ago. Before
now the index never has fallen by more than seven points in a single
week in 1,130 weeks of consecutive polling, and that's just four times.
The decline is broadly based among population groups, and there seems
not to be a single negative event to blame, but a confluence: The
stock market's fall, troubled housing and credit markets, the Fed's
expressions of concern about an economic downturn, the cumulative
effect of high gasoline prices during the summer driving months and a
public broadly dispirited over the course of national events, driven
by the unpopular war in Iraq.