Turn Signals

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Season's greetings: The holiday shopping season started with a whimper Friday, Nov. 23. Then the National Bureau of Economic Research formally declared a recession Monday, Nov. 26. And consumer confidence this month took another fall, the Conference Board declared Nov. 27. The Conference Board's monthly consumer confidence index, tallying public opinion on the current economy, dropped for the fifth straight month to 82.2 points from 85.3 points in October.

Expectations for the next six months

June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov.

Economy

Better 17.1% 17.2% 19.1% 15.7% 17.6% 16.8%

Worse 10.9% 11.2% 10.7% 15.8% 20.3% 17.3%

Same 72.0% 71.6% 70.2% 68.5% 62.1% 65.9%

Jobs

More 15.6% 15.0% 15.7% 12.9% 13.9% 14.1%

Fewer 18.1% 16.4% 17.7% 22.5% 29.0% 26.6%

Same 66.3% 68.6% 66.6% 64.6% 57.1% 59.3%

Incomes

Higher 24.4% 22.1% 23.2% 21.2% 18.0% 20.3%

Lower 7.1% 7.5% 8.3% 9.3% 10.9% 10.9%

Same 68.5% 70.4% 68.5% 69.6% 71.1% 68.8%

Layoffs and uncertainty are starting to slow down auto and home purchases, which had gotten a boost from low- or no-interest credit.

Plans to buy in the next six months

June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov.

Auto 6.7% 9.4% 8.1% 7.3% 8.8% 6.5%

Home 3.4% 3.8% 3.9% 3.6% 3.5% 3.0%

Apps. 27.7% 31.3% 31.5% 29.4% 26.8% 29.4%

Source: Conference Board's monthly Consumer Confidence Survey of 5,000 U.S. households by NFO WorldGroup

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