US Jobs Outlook Crashes Most On Record

With consumer confidence in November printing near the highest levels since the dot-com bubble, it was almost inevitable that in light of the recent economic and market turmoil, the December print would disappoint, and sure enough it did just that, when the Conference Board reported the December print dropped from 136.4 to 128.1, missing expectations of 133.7 and the lowest level since July.

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While Americans' assessment of the Present Situation was almost unchanged, at 171.6 vs 172.7 in November, it was their outlook that took a hit, as the Expectations Index tumbled from 112.3 to a two year low of 99.1, a 13.2 drop which was the biggest since August 2011 when the US credit rating was downgraded by the S&P and the S&P nearly fell in a bear market, dropping 19% before rebounding.

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One possible reason for the collapse is Americans' take on the job market which appears to have reversed abruptly, with those expecting more jobs in the months ahead falling to 16.6% from 22.7%, with the 6.1% pt drop is the biggest in over 41 years.

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This sharp drop in confidence about the labor market also resulted in a plunge in plans to purchase major appliances, which hit a level not seen since February 2016, hit during the E&P crisis when many note the US was hammered by a manufacturing recession.

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Commenting on the unexpectedly poor number, Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. said: "Consumer Confidence decreased in December, following a moderate decline in November".

"Expectations regarding job prospects and business conditions weakened, but still suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the short-term. While consumers are ending 2018 on a strong note, back-to-back declines in Expectations are reflective of an increasing concern that the pace of economic growth will begin moderating in the first half of 2019”.

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