News: Consumer confidence at lowest level since 2002

Only one in four Americans expect their finaces to improve in the next six months.

Only one in four Americans expect their finances to improve during the next six months, and fewer than one in five believe their local economy will strengthen during the same span. Those sour results are reflected in the RBC CASH (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index, which recently hit an all-time low since its inception in January 2002. Not surprisingly, respondents to the monthly survey were also glum about the future of the stock market and job growth, with 58 percent of Americans saying they're less confident about their own job security than they were six months ago. "Unfortunately, these negative conditions are likely to persist well beyond when the last of the tax rebate checks is cashed," says T.J. Marta, economic and fixed income strategist for RBC Capital Markets. "Consequently, consumer sentiment is unlikely to reach healthy levels anytime soon."