Indicators: Consumer spending not looking too good

At first glance, last week’s release of the monthly jobs report may have appeared to be good news — the unemployment rate technically fell to a recent low of 7.7 percent. Upon closer inspection, however, labor force participation also dropped as Americans continued to exit the work force, and that’s not the only economic indicator going south.

Investor confidence has been slackening off somewhat with the fiscal cliff within range, and there are fresh signs that consumer confidence is following suit, via the WSJ:

American consumers helped carry the economy through a spring slowdown and appeared to power a summer resurgence in growth. But in recent weeks government data have shown spending was slower over the summer than previously believed, and it has started off the final three months of the year on an even weaker footing.

Now a range of factors, from high unemployment to the prospect of increased taxes due to the approaching “fiscal cliff,” are threatening to sap consumers’ spending power at a time when other sectors of the economy likely are too weak to pick up the slack. …

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic output, is especially important at a time when other sectors have been struggling. …

Business investment fell sharply in the third quarter and has likely stayed weak as concerns mounted over the fiscal standoff in Washington. The housing market has shown strong growth this year, but construction activity remains depressed compared with before the recession.

And here’s yet another bit of negative economic news: The Department of Agriculture released new data confirming that the number of Americans enrolled for food-stamp benefits reach a new high for the month of September, another indicator of just how much Americans are struggling and the results of Obama’s failed policies. The DC summarizes:

The most recent data on SNAP participation were released Friday, and showed that 47,710,324 people were enrolled in the program in September, an increase of 607,559 from the 47,102,765 enrolled in August.

… The average benefit, according to the new data, was $134.29 per person and $278.89 per household.

The new numbers mean that an estimated one in 6.5 people in America were on food stamps in September.

But just remember, friends: It isn’t the Obama economy that’s going to put a damper on your holiday season; Republicans’ failure to hike taxes and further pummel the economy are going to be the real cause of a “Scrooge Christmas.” Yeesh.