The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index has fallen from -17 in mid-December 2007 to -54 today. En route it's matched or surpassed its previous low, set in 1992, eight times this year.Here's the tracking since 1985:
Indeed the CCI, figured on a scale of +100 to -100, has been at or below -50 for an unprecedented four weeks straight. And its average in the current recession to date, -40, is worse than its average in either of the past two recessions, +3 in March to November 2001 and -33 during the deeper recession from July 1990 to March 1991.
The index is based on Americans' ratings of the economy, their personal finances and the buying climate. Ninety-three percent now say the national economy's in bad shape and 58 percent rate their own finances negatively, each matching its worst on record. Eighty percent call it a bad time to buy things, 2 points from its record.
Another wince-inducing stat: job cuts in November were 61 percent higher than in October -- and 148 percent higher than November 2007.