According to the Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence, CEO confidence in growth is down.

“ Looking ahead, CEOs’ expectations regarding the economic outlook are also less optimistic than last quarter. Now, just 23 percent expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to 48 percent in the second quarter. About 22 percent expect economic conditions will worsen, compared to 14 percent last quarter. CEOs’ expectations regarding short-term prospects in their own industries over the next six months were also less optimistic. Now, only 22 percent anticipate an improvement in conditions, down from 42 percent last quarter. Some 19 percent expect conditions to worsen, up from just 9 percent in the second quarter.”

So, while consumer confidence is up, you can absolutely count on the fact that such sentiment is based more on corporate media propaganda than on reality.

How do consumers get the impression that the economy is improving? By simply not listening and putting pieces together. Sears declares bankruptcy. Retail chains closing locations by the hundreds, anchor stores in malls that take entire malls down with them, causing small business closures. Drive through most downtown areas and you see lines of empty stores. Same with strip malls. Rural areas have suffered for decades. Ford Motors laying off, declaring revenue loss. Harley-Davidson moving some manufacturing to Thailand. Automation killing jobs by tens of thousands at all pay levels. Home sales are down, vehicle sales are down. Foreclosures are rising in over 40% of housing markets. Vehicle repossessions rising.

People actually believe the stories that employment and income are up from where they were. They fail to ask questions, choosing to see what they wish to see.

Anyone paying attention has heard that the only reason employment is up is because of part-time, low wage employment. If you work 1 hour per week, you are no longer considered unemployed. Because it takes an average of six weeks to be recertified, if you work 1 hour every six weeks you are considered employed during that time. If wages are rising, it is merely because of people working multiple jobs, as real wages have not risen. Have your wages risen? Mine haven’t.

Even if wages rise, so have expenses. The loss of benefits which were once common are now expenses that come out of our pockets. Part time workers get no vacation time. Rarely insurance. Full time workers pay more for insurance than ever before. This happens at the same time as rent has increased, gas is up and hence food costs have increased. But you can check your own groceries out so the store can eliminate more jobs and pay fewer wages.

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