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American Consumers Power EconomyAired January 31, 2001 - 2:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: American consumers are the engine that powers this economy, and if you're not in a spending mood, the engine can quickly run out of gas, meaning recession.
Here's CNN's financial correspondent Peter Viles.
PETER VILES, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even in the comfort of the shopping mall, consumer confidence has taken a dramatic turn for the worse in January. You can certainly hear it at this mall outside Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe confidence is going down right now just in general, because of the stock market. I have retail stores, and I see that in my retail stores.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see recession in the future, so I'm trying to make sure I still save some money.
VILES: Consumer confidence has now declined four months in a row, although it remains well above the levels it fell to in the last recession.
LYNN FRANCO, THE CONFERENCE BOARD: What we can tell is that consumers are very apprehensive, and this can lead to a cautious consumer, which in turn can lead to a cutback in spending and may not bode well for the health of the economy.
VILES: No one knows that better than Greenspan, who warned Congress last week of the consequences if consumer confidence collapses.
ALAN GREENSPAN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: In which case, it's a different kind of economy, and it could languish for awhile. It's important that we avoid that.
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