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Light at end of the tunnel?

This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet

Executive Summary

Market research firm has good news and bad news regarding consumer attitudes in the current economy. On NPD's Economy Tracker scale of 0 ("Very Concerned") to 100 ("Very Confident"), consumers' "general economic perception" score has dropped from 38 in October to 36.7 in February. With that drop of less than two points, consumers' intention to spend has fallen more than 5 points, NPD notes. However, consumer concern for job security appears to be leveling off - with 34% "very concerned" about job security and/or income in February, versus 36% the month before and 38% in December - "which could mean they are preparing to spend again," firm says. Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD, states: "Of all the data I look at, this measure provides one of the best indications of how consumers are going to behave. February's results show consumers feeling better on this front and could signal consumer stabilization, a point at which consumers catch their breath, reassess and prioritize their purchase needs in preparation to begin spending again." NPD's Economy Tracker delivers monthly reports and a year-end analysis based on online surveys completed by consumers nationwide

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