The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index declined August to 191.7 from 241.7 in July (October 2008 = 100), while the Future Expectations Index also fell to 193.1 from 229.3 a month earlier.
In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 46% of respondents said sales were higher in August versus year-ago levels, down from 58% in July. For August, 29% reported sales were even, and 24% said sales were below year-ago levels.
Looking forward six months, 44% of August respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, down from 56% in July. In August, 32% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months, and 24% expect sales to be below current levels.
Looking forward one year, 68% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 77% who felt that way in July. Twenty-four percent of August respondents project sales will be even one year from now, and 7% project sales will be below current levels.
“Our members’ declining confidence in August reflects on the very difficult macroeconomic environment prevalent in the country today,” said Timothy Farrell, president and CEO of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association. “Recent reports of a downwardly revised GDP for the second quarter and an increase in the unemployment rate for August to 9.6% are further indications that we still have a long way to go before robust growth can be expected for most American businesses.”
The July Confidence Index survey asked two supplemental questions of AHMA members. Of the first, “Do you approve of the construction of the Ground Zero mosque in lower Manhattan?” 17% responded “Yes,” 14% responded “Not Sure,” and 69% responded “No.”
To the second question, “Do you approve or disapprove of the Obama administration’s moratorium on new deepwater offshore drilling?” 8% responded “Approve,” 19% responded “Not Sure,” and 73% responded “Disapprove.”