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Collapsing house prices across the United States have made Americans more pessimistic about the year to come than at any time since the height of the Watergate scandal and the first postwar oil price shock in the early 1970s, it was revealed yesterday.
The Conference Board said Americans were downbeat about their current situation, but were even gloomier about the future. While the present situation index, which looks at current conditions, fell to 89.2 in March from 104.0 in February, the expectations index, which looks ahead, dropped to a 35-year low of 47.9 in March from 58.0 the previous month. The last time the reading was so depressed was in December 1973, when it registered 45.2 amid the Arab oil embargo that brought an end to the long postwar boom.
Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's research centre, said: "Consumers' outlook for business conditions, the job market and their income prospects is quite pessimistic and suggests further weakening may be on the horizon."