November has presented many reasons for rising consumer confidence, as gas prices have been sliding and retail opportunities are abundant, but is it enough to stave off a recession and solidify Wall Street and exchange traded funds (ETFs)?

Consumers are up against strong indicators such as massive layoffs, falling home prices/values, and disappearing retirement funds. Consumer confidence is still low – so low that it is at levels not seen since 1974. Wall Street keeps an eye on consumer confidence, because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity, reports Anne D’Innocenzio for Associated Press.

The first signs of trouble began in the Summer of 2008, as the American consumer tightened up spending the most in 28 years. The gross domestic product (GDP) shriveled at a 0.5% annual rate from July-September. Compared to the last recession in 2001, the pace was at 1.4%, which makes this time around appear a bit heavy. Jeannine Aversa for Associated Press says the GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States and is the best measure of a country’s economic health.

How is the federal government going to handle most of this when the consumer debt market is frozen? Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced a new set of programs that provides $800 million to help liquify the debt markets, report Jeannine Aversa and Martin Crutsinger for Associated Press. The money will be geared toward student loans, auto loans and credit cards.

The recent move by Paulson couldn’t have come too soon, as many developed nations are anticipating a recession, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Around eight million are expected to be jobless across the world, and some countries are also going to experience deflation.

During the  half-yearly economic outlook, the Paris-based organization said economic output will likely shrink by 0.4% in 2009 for the 30 market democracies that make up its membership, against the 1.4% growth prediction originally anticipated, reports Pan Pylas for Associated Press.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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