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The glass is half empty…

…and the other half is filled with sour milk. The Conference Board‘s latest consumer confidence ratings were released Tuesday, and the future for many Americans is far from bright.

The index remained relatively flat in March at 26, up from 25.3 in February. (In 1985, the rating was 100.) The Present Situation Index declined to 21.5 from 22.3 last month while the Expectations Index increased to 28.9 from 27.3 in February.

“The Present Situation Index suggests that the overall state of the economy remains weak and that more job losses are on the horizon,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Apprehension about the outlook for the economy, the labor market and earnings continues to weigh heavily on consumers’ attitudes. Looking ahead, consumers remain extremely pessimistic about the short-term future and do not foresee a turnaround in economic conditions over the coming six months.”

I’ve been wondering if these super-pessimistic numbers and indicators are somewhat inflated from the era of over-consumption we enjoyed before 2008. Compared to a time of surplus, of course people are staying pessimistic now. I liken it to when I start complaining about a 55-degree day in April when I would have been ecstatic with that weather three months before.

And another thing to note is that while people still have a negative outlook about the economy, it hasn’t seemed to gotten any worse in recent months. Have we hit our bottom?