Consumer Confidence Retreats From August

Consumer confidence and expectations declined in September, according to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index. The influential Index, which had improved in August, retreated in September. The Index now stands at 48.5 (1985=100), down from 53.2 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 23.1 from 24.9. The Expectations Index declined to 65.4 from 72.0 last month, according to the Conference Board.

“September’s pull-back in confidence was due to less favorable business and labor market conditions, coupled with a more pessimistic short-term outlook. Overall, consumers’ confidence in the state of the economy remains quite grim. And, with so few expecting conditions to improve in the near term, the pace of economic growth is not likely to pick up in the coming months,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The cutoff date for September’s preliminary results was September 21st.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions weakened further in September. Those saying business conditions are “bad” increased to 46.1 percent from 42.3 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “good” declined to 8.1 percent from 8.4 percent.

Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also less favorable. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose to 46.1 percent from 45.5 percent, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 3.8 percent from 4.0 percent.

Consumers’ expectations took a turn for the worse in September. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will worsen over the next six months rose to 16.4 percent from 13.4 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will improve declined to 14.9 percent from 16.9 percent.

Consumers are also more pessimistic about future employment prospects. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead remained essentially unchanged at 14.5 percent in September, compared to 14.7 percent in August. However, those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 22.7 percent from 19.6 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes declined slightly to 10.2 percent from 10.6 percent.

Visit www.conference-board.org.

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