Consumers Anticipate a Recession


October 29, 2001

Consumers Anticipate a Recession

More Americans today than a month ago believe the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are pushing the U.S. into recession, The Conference Board announced today. In a special survey of 750 U.S. households Oct. 18-19 and Sept. 18-19, the business research and consulting firm found 52% of consumers now hold that belief, up from 47% in September.

The news isn't all bad though. In September, 51% of consumers said the attacks would affect their households economically, but that number dropped to 46% in October. The number of consumers who say they won't postpone major purchases, such as a home or car, remains unchanged near 90%. Also, more consumers are willing to fly – 79% now compared with 70% in September.

"While the purchasing intentions of consumers have not changed and remain quite upbeat, it remains to be seen whether these attitudes will translate into actual purchases," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

Additionally, last week The Conference Board announced the Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators declined 0.5% in September, following a revised 0.1% decline in August. The September drop was the largest one-month decline since January 1996. "The two-month decline suggests the already-weak economy is likely to remain weak into next year," says Ken Goldstein, an economist with The Conference Board.

- by Julia M. Duncan

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