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Consumer Confidence Dips in September

September 30, 2009 By: George Dooley

The influential Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in August, reports it dipped in September. The Index now stands at 53.1 (1985=100), down from 54.5 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 22.7 from 25.4. The Expectations Index declined to 73.3 from 73.8 last month. Consumers' short-term outlook was also slightly more pessimistic as was those anticipating an improvement in business conditions over the next six months.


"Consumer Confidence, which had improved in August, retreated slightly in September. The Present Situation Index decreased, as consumers viewed both current business conditions and the labor market less favorably than last month. While not as pessimistic as earlier this year, consumers remain quite apprehensive about the short-term outlook and their incomes. With the holiday season quickly approaching, this is not very encouraging news," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center:


Consumers' assessment of current conditions was less favorable in September. Those claiming business conditions are "bad" increased to 46.3 percent from 44.6 percent, while those claiming conditions are "good" increased to 8.7 percent from 8.5 percent. Consumers' appraisal of the job market was also less favorable. Those claiming jobs are "hard to get" increased to 47.0 percent from 44.3 percent, while those claiming jobs are "plentiful" decreased to 3.4 percent from 4.3 percent.


The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world's largest custom research company. The cutoff date for September's preliminary results was September 22nd.


Consumers' short-term outlook was also slightly more pessimistic. Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions over the next six months decreased to 21.3 percent from 22.2 percent, while those expecting conditions to worsen decreased to 15.0 percent from 15.2 percent.


The labor market outlook was virtually unchanged. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged down to 17.9 percent from 18.0 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs remained the same at 23.1 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes increased slightly to 11.2 percent from 10.8 percent.



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