LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Want evidence that the so-called recovery is anemic? Look no further than Friday's consumer confidence numbers.
The Reuters/University of Michigan index posted an unexpected decline in confidence, dropping to 63.2 in early August from 66 in July. Funny, it was supposed to rise to 69, but instead it registered the lowest reading since March, a time when companies were dropping employees like pets shedding fur. See story.
Though not to the same degree, companies are still losing people at a rapid clip. It's the one bugaboo about the economy that is holding everything back, and finally Wall Street got a dose of that reality Friday, with the Dow undergoing a triple-digit drop in the early going from which it never recovered.
It's not enough that prices are holding steady and inflation seems to be in check. In fact, that's a bad thing as it indicates the economy is stagnant. See story.
With inflation locked in a holding pattern not seen since the 1950s, it doesn't offer much hope that things will get markedly better soon.
And a number of doors will have to open before the recovery can get out from under the anemic label -- mostly to companies' personnel departments.