Why should consumers have all the glum?


Consumer confidence polls have been routinely in the tar pit of late, and that is also where we find America’s CEOs, according to the latest barometer reading from Chief Executive Magazine. The magazine used the index method, with a score of 100 placing opinion at a par position with conditions considered on average neither especially good nor especially bad. November 2008’s CEO index of 50 was bad, and it managed to tunnel all the way down to 40.9 for December 2008.

All five underpinning categories were down as well month to month. Current confidence dipped from 63.7 to 52.1; future confidence fell from 40.7 to 33.3; business conditions dropped from a microscopic 19.5 to an even tinier 16.8; and employment confidence declined from 35.7 to 22.0. And while the investment index operated a bit higher up the scale, it too was below par and dropped significantly, from 87.3 to 76.2.

The magazine noted some anonymous observations from some of its respondents:

"It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

"We brought it on unto ourselves by ignoring the balance of trade and global outsourcing of jobs and technology."

"Yes we have seen the bottom but fear is still driving consumers’ thoughts."

"Sooner or later there will be some good news."

RBR/TVBR observation: The more people we can keep working, the more that will keep spending. It’s time for everybody to hunker down and ride this thing out as best they can, with as much normalcy as possible. And especially, to keep in mind that this is a great time to build for the inevitable recovery by keeping your advertising message out in front of consumers while other less-bold companies are going mute.