Consumer Confidence Dips in Nov.

Conference BoardNEW YORK–Consumer confidence, which had decreased sharply in October, declined again in November, according to The Conference Board, which compiles the indicator. The Index now stands at 70.4, down from 72.4 in October. The Present Situation Index edged down to 72.0 from 72.6. The Expectations Index declined to 69.3 from 72.2 last month.

Consumers’ assessment of overall current conditions decreased slightly. Those claiming business conditions are “good” edged up to 19.9 percent from 19.5 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased to 25.2 percent from 23 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was little changed. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” ticked up to 11.8 percent from 11.6 percent, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly to 34.0 percent from 34.9 percent.

Consumers’ expectations also declined in November. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased slightly to 16.6 percent from 16 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 16.8 percent from 17.5 percent. However, consumers’ outlook for the labor market was more pessimistic, The Conference Board said. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead fell to 12.7 percent from 16 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased to 21.7 percent from 22.6 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined to 14.9 percent from 15.7 percent. Those expecting a decrease in their incomes rose slightly to 15.9 percent from 15.5 percent.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. However, these sentiments did not carry over into the short-term outlook. When looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earning prospects, but remain neutral about economic conditions. All in all, with such uncertainty prevailing, this could be a challenging holiday season for retailers.”