Thursday, July 8, 2010
Economic confidence sinks
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
Each new bit of economic news makes job seekers, those who have jobs and Wall Street nervous. Now it seems that, even as the job picture holds steady, there is uncertainty about the economy.
Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the various prognostications of economists. Some of whom say there will be a continued but stunted recovery from the recession. Others who say the economy is getting ready for another fall - this one bigger than the last.
If that happens, it's likely that Washington won't be in a position to bail out Wall Street, Main Street or Elm Street - and we'll just have to ride it out - suffering the consequences.
News Wednesday that Microsoft was laying off employees - though not that many - took me by surprise. Microsoft has deep pockets and should be able to ride out economic downturns nicely. But - as with all businesses - the bottom line is the bottom line. Perhaps the software giant just wants to keep its margins up - at the expense of employees who are getting pink slips.
The market, however, didn't even blink at the news, ending up on Tuesday. But now, the Gallup poll is saying that there's a lot of uncertainty still about the economy.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index fell to -34, That's the lowest weekly average since last July.
But Gallup has also been tracking jobs - and says that job creation remains "relatively positive."
Which means that the reality of the economy may not be the issue. Perceptions - when it comes to economics - sometimes overshadows facts.
A cable TV news pundit asked the other day if we can think ourselves into a depression. Perhaps, based on this latest snapshot, the answer is "yes."