TurnSignals

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Interest rate cuts and brief stock-market surges perked up consumer confidence during the first quarter, but the happy days did not last long. In the middle of a steady stream of corporate layoffs and cutbacks, consumers are less than optimistic.

Expectations for the next six months

Nov. 2000 Dec. Jan. 2001 Feb. March April

Economy

Better 14.7% 16.9% 13.1% 11.3% 15.1% 14.1%

Worse 8.3% 10.1% 15.2% 17.6% 13.7% 14.7%

Same 77% 73% 71.7% 71.1% 71.2% 71.2%

Jobs

More 14.7% 14% 11.7% 12.8% 10.2% 12.3%

Fewer 13.6% 15.7% 21.5% 26.6% 20.4% 23.2%

Same 71.7% 70.3% 66.8% 62.7% 67.4% 64.5%

Incomes

Higher 28.7% 28.3% 24.1% 23.9% 23.4% 22.1%

Lower 5.6% 6.0% 6.0% 7.5% 7.0% 7.9%

Same 65.7% 65.7% 69.1% 68.6% 69.6% 70.0%

A word of advice to marketers: consumers' spending plans are shifting.

Plans to buy in the next six months

Nov. 2000 Dec. Jan. 2001 Feb. March April

Auto 7.2% 8.3% 7.8% 9.0% 7.9% 7.6%

Home 3.2% 3.3% 3.3% 4.0% 4.2% 3.2%

Appliances 27.6% 29.8% 28.1% 28.3% 28.9% 28.3%

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