Consumer Confidence: Surprise Dip in January

It’s time for another update of our interactive chart of Consumer Confidence. You can drag the time sliders below the chart to view data going all the way back to 1998.

Here’s the data as of January:

At 57.3, the Present Situation Index has gained 184% from its December 2009 low point, but fell 11% from its December level. The index is now back below the pre-crash low point of 59.7 in September 2003, and at roughly the same place it was in September 2008. The expectations index also took a dive in January, falling 13% from its December level. In just the last three months, the expectations index has given back 29%, falling from 84.0 in October to 59.5 in January.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
  2. 2
    ARDELL says:

    The Pope quitting has me a bit worried.

  3. 3

    RE: ARDELL @ 2 – It could be worse. It could be their CFO resigning, or the announcement of a merger with Facebook. ;-)

    I was shocked to read how seldom that has occurred. I was pretty sure it had not happened during my lifetime, but I’d never have guessed it’s been over 600 years!

  4. 4
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 2

    I was surprised to learn he headed the department in charge of investigating sex scandals, and pursueing Bishops who blocked investigations.

    He has already left his conservative mark, and will now have a hand in choosing a successor.

    In other words, I agree, I’m concerned.

  5. 5
    Ron says:

    It’s past time for a women to be appointed Pope….time to break up the club. I hear Sarah Palin is looking for a gig…:)

    “Religion is What Keeps the Poor from Murdering the Rich”
    Napoleon Bonaparte…

    Pope Benedict, the 3rd largest landholder in the world.

  6. 6
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3


    There have only been 4 other Popes stepping down in all of history. The first stepped down after the Emperor forced him to sacrifice something to a Pagan god. He felt unworthy afterward. So that was a VERY long time ago. The most recent was around 1450 BC.

    Popes are supposed to be more like Kings as in “The King is dead…long live The King.” So advanced age as a reason is complete BS. It is a lifetime appointment because there is no form of exorcism to remove one’s Popeness.

  7. 7
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Ron @ 5

    People freaked out when a major bank almost went out of business. What kind of chaos would ensue if the Catholic Church went out of business?

  8. 8
    Blurtman says:

    Things are Different, Now, For Sure

    Background: If the 16th century was the renaissance of shitty popes, the 10th century was the true dark age of the papacy. Popes during this time period were basically Genghis Kahn with a prettier hat. Pope John XII assumed the throne of Saint Peter at the seemingly tender age of 18, but back in the 10th century people lived to be about 25, so that was no excuse for the horrible reign that was to follow.

    Why He is Awful: Pope John XII was a notorious sex fiend. He had sex with women and men in the papal palace and when visitors refused his attentions he went ahead and raped them anyway. The same hospitality was extended to his two young sisters. He held massive orgies and took particular pleasure in defiling holy sites, like the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, with his sinful acts.

    A list of crimes John XIII was accused of was included in the Patrologia Latina, which I assume is some ancient text of absolute bastard popes. These crimes are too numerous to mention here, but a few highlights include:

    •Ordaining a 10 year old as bishop
    •Having sex with his niece (I guess raping his sisters didn’t count)
    •Turning the sacred palace into a brothel
    •Castrating and then murdering a cardinal
    •Blinding and then murdering his confessor
    •Toasting to the devil and invoking pagan gods during dice games
    •Refusing to make the sign of the cross, which seems like a job requirement for the pope

    Pope John XII was no stranger to political intrigue. He granted Otto I of Germany the title of emperor in order to protect himself from his political enemies, but Otto I began to take more power than John XII was comfortable with. He conspired against his supposed ally, but Otto I returned to Rome and deposed John XII from the papacy and installed a puppet pope.

    John XII fled into exile, but gathered an army of allies and mercenaries. He returned to Rome, ran off the puppet pope, and took back his title. Otto I mustered an army to finish off John XII once and for all, but he was too late. By the time Otto I arrived in Rome Pope John XII was dead. It is rumored that he was killed by a jealous husband when the man caught John XII in bed with his wife. By the way, his son became Pope John XIII and died the exact same way.

    Pope John XII was a son of a bitch. There is no getting around it. If he is not the most awful pope of all time, he is certainly in contention as the most evil.

  9. 9
    Blurtman says:

    It’s Different This Time

    Pope Julius III

    Julius was one of the rare duly-elected popes of the 16th century, most having come to power through intrigues or even murder. At the time, being pope was to the richest and most powerful families of Italy much like being President of the United States is to the Bushes and the Clintons. Compared to these families, Julius III was like the war hero of cardinals.

    Decades before becoming pope, Julius was traded as a hostage by the dumb and cowardly Pope Clement VII to Emperor Charles V during the sacking of Rome. Julius would have been killed, but in a complicated twist Cardinal Pompeo Colonna, enemy of Clement VII and rogue commando cardinal, rescued the hostages including Julius III from the clutches of the Emperor. It was the original special ops mission. Despite such a dramatic history, Julius III would go on to become one of the vilest popes ever to sit on the throne of Saint Peter.

    Why He is Awful: Once he was elected pope, Julius III looted the papal coffers to renovate his mansion in Rome. The Villa Giula, as it is known, became the full-time residence of Julius III and the pope oversaw the construction. He hired only the best (including Michelangelo) and had little interest in the affairs of the pope. Following on the heels of meddlesome popes like Clement VII, you might think this was a good thing, but Julius III had some unfortunate uses for all that free time.

    In addition to the wholesale looting of the Catholic treasury so that he could flip his house, Julius III was known to have a thing for younger men. Alright, he liked to have sex with kids. Okay, he was infamous for having sex with kids.

    That mansion of his was decorated with statues and frescoes depicting kids having sex with each other. Julius III didn’t just let slip that he molested kids, he flaunted it. He decorated his house to flaunt it. He didn’t need Martin Bashir to ask him about sleeping with some crippled white kid, Julius III was having Michelangelo chisel sculptures of mouth rape. He was blinging with child porn.

    Controversial poet and scholar Giovanni Della Casa wrote an poem about Julius III in which Della Casa defended the practice of sodomizing young boys. The poem was known throughout Italy and was written while Julius III was the pope. That’s like the 16th century equivalent of having a top 5 song on the Billboard charts name-dropping you as a child rapist. Joey from Full House had it easy with Alanis Morissette.

    All of these things combined would easily give Julius a spot on the list, but his masterpiece of shitty popery came when Julius mixed business and pleasure. He had a tendency to appoint hot underage studs to the position of cardinal, but took things to a whole new level when he adopted a beggar. He raised the kid as a sort of foul-mouthed gay slut that hung out in Rome and was bestowed with the title of cardinal-nephew, which sounds and is creepy, but was also an extremely powerful and prestigious position in the church. Julius III and his boytoy inspired more than a century of anti-papacy sentiment throughout Europe.

  10. 10
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 9RE: Blurtman @ 8

    So the sex scandal thing is kind of a constant.

  11. 11

    By ARDELL @ 6:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3

    There have only been 4 other Popes stepping down in all of history.

    The other three times, what happened afterward to house prices?

  12. 12
    ricklind says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 11:

    By ARDELL @ 6:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3

    There have only been 4 other Popes stepping down in all of history.

    The other three times, what happened afterward to house prices?

    THERE is that Krismer sense of humor!

    What did happen to house prices? Blurty and Ardell seem to be the brain trust on this.

  13. 13
    ARDELL says:

    RE: ricklind @ 12

    No way to know because the Average Giuseppina was not allowed to own property, and as to Popes raping people…I think everyone pretty much raped everyone back then. :)

    Seriously though, this thread is about “confidence” and Catholics internationally can go berserk when there is no Pope, as if they can’t make a move until the smoke from The Vatican says there’s a new one.

    Internationally this whole “quitting” thing can have some serious ripples, and the collapse of the Catholic Empire seems imminent for a lot of reasons. If no one cares about the Pope thing…that’s even worse, as that could signal the end of Catholicism and the private sector will have a lot of extra weight to pull from that. Schools. Charitable efforts. All will have to be made up by the private sector, and that’s a small fortune to account for.

    To David, yes it has always been a thing because good Catholics with deviant thoughts became nuns or priests to try to right their ways and remove themselves by being celibate. Sometimes it worked…sometimes not. When I was young there were a barrage of tests to make sure people weren’t trying to escape to the priesthood from their deviant thoughts. My cousin didn’t make it in. Lenny from the neighborhood should not have…I could have told them he was not priesthood material. :)

  14. 14
    Nick says:

    Say “pope” again. Say “pope” again! I dare ya! I double dare ya!

  15. 15
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 10 – Were those guys infallible? If so,…hmmm..

  16. 16

    RE: ricklind @ 12 – Putting post 3 and 11 together I could see that might have been viewed as a crack at Ardell’s age/experience. I was really just trying to point out we’re getting a bit far off the real estate topic here in this “on-topic” thread.

  17. 17

    By ARDELL @ 13:

    Internationally this whole “quitting” thing can have some serious ripples, . . ..

    Maybe it just shows that the Pope is a follower of Palin. ;-)

    He can’t go on now that Fox News didn’t renew her contract, so he’s following her lead, by not serving out his “term.” I wish I had Photoshop so I could post a picture of him sitting on a Fox News Sunday panel.

  18. 18

    RE: ARDELL @ 2

    I Agree With You Ardell

    I’ve always had a repugnance of the Italian Vatican [or any other corporate foreign lobbyist group out there and/or in America, FTM] telling America to ignore border security and let anyone in America by ignoring our sovereign national immigration laws on the books….as an old fashion Earthday Democrat [we were all for depopulation when America had only 200M people, including Nixon (R), BTW] for the environment too.

    Maybe the job got too “illegally” convoluted and jumping the overpopulation “resource short sinking ship”, seemed the right thing to do.

  19. 19
    Blurtman says:

    Bloody papists!

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