Bleak Job Outlook Portends Weak Christmas Shopping Season

Bleak Job Outlook Portends Weak Christmas Shopping Season

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Holiday shopping may take a hit in 2011

Consumer Reports is reporting that American consumers are managing their finances better, but a worsening job picture and falling retail sales threatens to put a damper on the economy as the holiday season draws near.

Consumer sentiment is down according to a Consumer Reports index.

Tough Forecast

We’re still in September, but higher unemployment and declining retail sales could make this Christmas shopping season especially bleak. That’s bad news for a sector of the economy dependent on consumers coming out and driving up sales.

According to the Consumer Reports Index, the U.S. job outlook continues to look week, as its September reflects a two-month decline, down in September to 49.1 from 50.2 in August. One measuring tool — the share of Americans claiming to have started a new job in the past 30 days — shows that number at 5 percent versus 5.9 percent in August.

Summer Slide

July’s number was much higher, 7.8 percent, underscoring how dramatic the decrease has been. In the past 30 days job losses were up, 6.9 percent, from August, when the figure was 5.6 percent. Consumer Reports data confirms federal information which has shown that Americans between the ages of 18-34 years have been hit the hardest by job losses (13.7 percent).

Said Ed Farrell, a director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center, “The recovery faces serious challenges and is at risk of stalling. Job creation remains the greatest challenge. The growth in the ranks of the employed remains anemic and will dampen consumer outlook moving forward. Americans have not seen any real improvement in their financial situation since the recession hit and this is reflected in our Sentiment Index, which has been in negative territory for the last two years.”

Index Report

The Sentiment Index is one five indices compromising the Consumer Reports Index report which is available at www.ConsumerReports.org.

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Source: Consumer Reports

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