Consumer Confidence plunged in February, according to the Conference Board. The reading fell to 46 from 56.5 in January the worst reading in 10 months, a strong indication things are getting much worse. A reading above 90 usually indicates a strong economy, so we have a long way to go. The massive number of unemployed and the massive number of long-term unemployed means we are seeing millions of people falling from middle class economic status to something less than that. This is reflected in the confidence numbers. But also reflected in the confidence number is the fear that what has happened to others can happen to respondents. Consumer spending is 70 percent of GDP.
Bill Walbrecher is the president and chief operating officer of Operation HOPE, and is a former CEO of three Fortune 500 banking operations over the course of his career.