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Even the Rich Have Qualms About the Economy: Survey

On top of a weaker-than-expected monthly jobs gain and a miniscule 0.1 percent gain in wage growth, a new survey shows that the confidence of the wealthy is flagging.

According to the Affluent Consumer Tracking Study from Unity Marketing, confidence is the lowest it’s been since the recession. The study’s confidence index, calculated from five questions the company asks people with household income above $100,000, fell by around 12 points since last quarter. It hasn’t been this low since the beginning of 2009. “We just haven’t sustained any kind of upward growth,” said Unity Marketing president Pam Danziger. “Their confidence has ping-ponged back and forth, but we’ve been on the decline.” Danziger blamed stock market volatility for part of this group’s reluctance to spend, along with broader economic concerns. This is bad news for retailers ahead of the crucial holiday season. Although affluent consumers make up only 20 percent of the population, these consumers generally account for over 40 percent of consumer spending, Danziger said. “The fact is, the affluents have money,” she said. “They just don’t have the will to spend it.”

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-- Martha C. White