One measure of consumer confidence just suffered its sharpest drop on record as coronavirus layoffs persist

ReutersA worker takes stock as consumers empty shelves of food at a Trader Joe’s grocery store, gathering supplies as coronavirus fears spread in Encinitas, California
  • The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped 3.4 points to 56.3 in the week ending March 29, the worst two-week fall on record including the previous 3.3-point drop, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
  • The report comes as data shows the severe damage of the coronavirus pandemic on the US economy – nearly 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance in the last two weeks, a staggering record.
  • “These unprecedented declines in consumer sentiment mark the vast economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis,” said Gary Langer, head of Langer Research Associates, which produces the index, Bloomberg reported.
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US consumers are growing increasingly uneasy as the coronavirus pandemic keeps them cooped up at home and spurs mass layoffs across the country.

The Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index dropped 3.4 points to 56.3 in the week ending March 29, Bloomberg reported Thursday. Combined with last week’s 3.3-point drop, it’s the worst two-week slump since records began in 1985. Now, the index is at its lowest in nearly two years.

“These unprecedented declines in consumer sentiment mark the vast economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis,” said Gary Langer, head of Langer Research Associates, which produces the index, Bloomberg reported.


Read more: UBS breaks down how the coronavirus crisis imperils a $US5.4 trillion market that investors rely on for income – and explains why the Fed’s massive support will be inadequate

The report was released the same day US weekly jobless claims showed that 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, bringing the two-week total to nearly 10 million. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it’s likely that further economic pain will be seen as bans on non-essential business persist, and workers and students are stuck at home.

The study also showed that comfort about the economy dropped, slipping 12.1 points in the last week, down from a 20-year high in late January. That drop is much larger than the previous record decline of eight points seen in February 2008, amid a recession. Now, economists agree that the US is either already in a recession or will fall into one soon as the coronavirus crisis continues.

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