The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in September, increased slightly in October, but hovers at historically low levels. The Index now stands at 50.2 (1985=100), up from 48.6 in September. The Present Situation Index increased to 23.9 from 23.3. The Expectations Index improved to 67.8 from 65.5.
“Consumer confidence, while slightly improved from September levels, is still hovering at historically low levels. Consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy is relatively unchanged, primarily because labor market conditions have yet to significantly improve. And, despite the uptick in Expectations, consumers continue to be quite concerned about the short-term outlook. Both present and future indicators point toward more of the same in the coming months,” said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center:
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was somewhat mixed in October. Those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased to 41.9 percent from 46.0 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “good” edged up to 8.5 percent from 8.2 percent.
Consumers’ assessment of the labor market, however, was less favorable in October. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose to 46.1 percent from 45.8 percent, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 3.5 percent from 3.8 percent.
Consumers’ expectations, while still quite bleak, were less pessimistic in October. Those expecting an improvement in business conditions over the next six months rose to 16.0 percent from 15.0 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen declined to 14.1 percent from 16.6 percent.
Consumers were mixed about future job prospects. The percentage of consumers anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead declined to 22.0 percent from 22.6 percent. However, the percentage anticipating more jobs declined to 14.1 percent from 14.5 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes declined to 9.1 percent from 10.3 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, a custom research company.