How's that "hope and change" working out for you this Christmas season? Or perhaps I should use the term Rush Limbaugh used earlier today: "hoax and change". That about sums it up perfectly.
Thanks to the president's assault on the American economy, with all his plans for higher taxes, forced healthcare, and anticipated energy price hikes, Americans are not exactly splurging this Christmas. What American in his right mind would feel secure spending loads of money when he is either unemployed or in fear of unemployment, unless of course he is a government employee?
Read the bad news at Hot Air:
Gallup: Holiday spending off 21% from 2008
"After a diffident start to the Christmas shopping season, consumers have turned pessimistic — very pessimistic. According to the latest Gallup survey, sales have dropped 21% compared to 2008, a year that was itself a disaster:
'Despite an uptick in economic confidence and a better job situation compared to a year ago as measured by Gallup economic data, consumer spending was down 21% last week from the same holiday week in 2008. Holiday spending is not looking good this year, even when compared to last year’s dismal Christmas season, providing little holiday cheer for the nation’s retailers.'
And those job numbers announced last week? Gallup puts those in perspective:
'Similarly, it may not be wise to overstate the improvement in the job market suggested by last week’s employment report. The decline in the number of jobs lost and in the unemployment rate is good news. And Gallup’s job data show that job-market conditions today have improved considerably compared to earlier this year. In fact, Gallup’s Job Creation Index suggests that hiring and firing conditions are better now than they were at this same time a year ago.
Still, the improvement in the unemployment rate last month resulted in part from a decline of about 100,000 Americans in the labor force, as discouraged workers simply dropped out and stopped looking for work. Further, a survey by Kronos Inc. shows that hiring by the nation’s retailers rose to its highest level of 2009 last month, suggesting the job-market improvement may have much to do with new part-time and temporary jobs.
In this regard, probably the most important jobs figure right now is Gallup’s hiring measure, which remains in a 24% to 26% range — essentially where it was at this time a year ago. Most of the improvement in job-market conditions so far in 2009 seems attributable to a reduction in layoffs as opposed to a much-needed increase in job creation.'
In fact, the hiring index in Gallup’s survey has not moved outside of the margin of error for the past year. Firms do not appear to be hiring any more than they did during last year’s Christmas season (24%/25%, respectively). They’re also reducing staff at just a slightly lower rate (22%, compared to 25% in 2008), but within the MOE.
That level of uncertainty has certainly played into the poor performance at the cash register this season. Gallup says that it will take a major surge in consumer spending over the next two weeks just to get back to the lousy 2008 levels of spending. That should not be a big shock, though, since over 3 million more people have lost their jobs in the intervening year. Obviously, those people weren’t going to be throwing their money around.
But that’s not the reason spending is down 21%. After all, 3 million people is less than 3% of the workforce. Clearly, the rest of the country wants to save money in case times get worse in 2010, which it appears may be the case for retailers, at least. The credit crunch will limit how much people can charge rather than buy in cash — or how much they’re willing to do so. Those may be healthy trends on an individual basis for consumers, but not for the economy in the short run."