Will Black Friday push retailers into the black? Whether it is hundreds of Colorado Hostess employees pushed out of their jobs by stubborn union demands, or hundreds more Colorado Vestas employees living under uncertainty regarding special government credits propping up their employer, Colorado citizens faced another year of weak growth, high unemployment, stagnant wages, and rising taxes. How this will play out in the important holiday retail season is TBD, but we are not holding our breath.
Tomorrow, the Conference Board will publish November’s consumer confidence numbers, which may help guide estimates of 2012 holiday sales. Last month’s result was a weak 72.2 (registering below consensus estimates of 73). To give some context to that number, the November number at the end of George W. Bush’s first term was 92, and it trended above 100 in eight of the nine months following his re-election. Those numbers are a sign of a nation confident in the direction of its economy, and on a more granular level, families confident in their individual economic conditions. Why is this important? Because U.S. consumer spending still drives our economy, and to a certain extent, the global economy.
A deeper look into October’s sentiment numbers show a nation with a sharply negative outlook on its economic condition. A scant 16.5% of those surveyed for the October report felt that US business conditions were “good,” while 33.1% answered that business conditions were “bad.” What will tomorrow’s numbers show? We will be watching at 8:00 Mountain Time. We hope it’s positive news for Colorado’s small business owners.