Political Election Hurting Retail, Consumer Interest

Of all the ways this current political election could be described in hindsight for years to come, boring certainly won’t be one of them. Democrats, Republicans and the United States as a whole are talking about it, regardless of whether their descriptive viewpoint sees it as a  positive or negative.

From the same standpoint as someone who can’t look away from a train crash, the latter may actually garner more attention. The effects of such uncertainty and division among the two candidates can be seen blatantly. Though it hasn’t been hurt directly, retail is no exception. Rather, it’s an unfortunate casualty of the effects felt by others, specifically consumers who fuel sales.

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and employment conditions softened, while optimism regarding the short-term outlook retreated somewhat,” stated Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “However, consumers’ expectations regarding their income prospects in the coming months were relatively unchanged. Overall, sentiment is that the economy will continue to expand in the near-term, but at a moderate pace.”

The Confidence Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, using a monthly survey conducted by Nielson, showed the evident feelings of consumer’s towards the job market. Showing the number of those believing jobs are currently “plentiful” dropping from 27.6 to 24.3 percent, consumers believing more jobs to be available in six months also fell to 13.1 from 15.7 percent.

“This is not a good report, especially as we are entering the most important shopping season of the year,” stated IHS Global Insight economist Chris G. Christopher Jr. “Going forward, we expect consumer confidence to gain some lost ground after the presidential election. This will be good news for many retailers, since higher levels of confidence assist in promoting consumer spending.”

Though there is optimism for improvement upon the report’s findings, the current economic conditions and change in consumer spending is still alarming. With such an incident, it’s natural to wonder if these reactions to the presidential landscape are truly temporary or a sign of things to come.

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