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Consumer Reports Index: Appliance Retail Down, Consumer Sentiment Improved
Sep 15, 2011
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While consumer sentiment improved in September, according to the monthly Consumer Reports Index, a big drop in appliance retail activity helped drag the Past 30-Day Retail Index down from 12.0 in August to 10.0 in September.

CR also noted that the uptick in the overall index comes after the index plummeted to its lowest level in nearly two years. The Consumer Reports Index is designed to be a measure of overall consumer financial health.

“Weak employment growth is the number one issue facing Americans,” said Ed Farrell, director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center. “Continued improvement in Sentiment and sustained declines in financial difficulties faced by consumers, hinges on getting American’s back to work.”

The Consumer Reports Sentiment Index rose to 48.8, up from 43.4 in August. The figure represents the percentage of people saying they were financially better off versus worse off than they were a year ago.

The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker, gauging the breadth and depth of American households' financial difficulties, dropped 15.3 points to 45.3 in September, reflecting fewer financial difficulties such as inability to pay for health care, missed mortgage payments, and falling behind on other bills.

“The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker showed a large swing in the right direction, but that’s just a snapshot of the big picture,” Farrell added. “Households that earn less than $50,000 a year, which represent nearly half of the population, continue having trouble finding new jobs, paying bills and affording health care.”

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