Consumer confidence down in Massachusetts


Consumer confidence in Massachusetts fell sharply for the second straight quarter, according to Mass Insight, which reported August 18 that its index measuring consumer optimism and pessimism had fallen below 60 for the first time in two and a half years.

“With talk of a possible double-dip recession and uncertainty about what the federal government is going to do next, consumers aren’t spending and businesses aren’t creating jobs,” Mass Insight President William Guenther said in a statement.

According to Mass Insight, Massachusetts consumer confidence is now 4 points lower than national consumer confidence. The index showed assessments of both current economic conditions, and future expectations fell in the latest quarterly survey. The survey showed only 10 percent of respondents rated present general business conditions good, with 38 percent categorizing them as normal, 48 percent bad, and 4 percent saying they didn’t know.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducts the survey, which involves phone interviews with 500 adult residents. The updated confidence index results were released hours after the state reported the July unemployment rate held at 7.6 percent despite the addition of 12,700 jobs that month.

The state suspended its 6.25 percent sales tax the weekend of August 13 to spur consumer purchases, and Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst told the News Service Wednesday that stores had a “huge weekend.”