Consumer confidence takes a dip in Washington, D.C.

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Employment, or the lack thereof, continues to be a drag on consumer confidence, even in areas like Washington. D.C., where the federal government has been expanding.

The Greater Washington Board of Trade reported Tuesday that the region’s consumer confidence index fell from 62 in June to 58 in December, the first dip in two years.

“While the region’s latest overall index is still higher than it was two years ago, this is the first time we have had a backslide in the index since the Board of Trade began sponsoring the survey series in December 2008,” said Board of Trade CEO Jim Dinegar.

Only 13 percent of the region’s consumers believe jobs are “plentiful and easy to find,” compared with 43 percent who said jobs are “scarce and hard to find.”

Bob Hostettler, Mid-Atlantic Managing Partner of Tatum LLC, the firm that sponsors the survey for the board, said that while “local consumers are not happy with the current jobs picture, they have hope for the future.” By a margin of 39 percent to 14 percent, they expect the region’s employment situation to improve over the next six months.

Still, only 9 percent of the region’s consumers plan to spend more this year on holiday gifts. 

Overall, federal government employees were more positive about current economic conditions. Fifty-nine percent of them said conditions are mostly good, while only 45 percent of non-federal employees had that response. That rating, however, dropped to 38 percent for federal employees when asked if they expect economic conditions to improve in the next six months perhaps because of a government pay freeze recently proposed by President Obama.   


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