Consumer Confidence Drops in September

Conference BoardNEW YORK–The consumer confidence index, which had increased slightly in August, decreased in September, according to The Conference Board, which administers the monthly survey. The Index now stands at 79.7, down from 81.8 in August. The Present Situation Index grew to 73.2 from 70.9. The Expectations Index fell to 84.1 from 89.0 last month.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators, said, “Consumer confidence decreased in September as concerns about the short-term outlook for both jobs and earnings resurfaced, while expectations for future business conditions were little changed. Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, however, was more positive. While overall economic conditions appear to have moderately improved, consumers are uncertain that the momentum can be sustained in the months ahead.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved moderately, the Board reported. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 19.5 percent from 18.7 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased to 23.9 percent from 24.5 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more favorable. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased slightly to 11.5 percent from 11.3 percent, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased to a five-year low of 32.7 percent from 33.3 percent.

Consumers’ expectations, which had increased in August, declined in September. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up to 20.9 percent from 20.6 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen was virtually unchanged at 11.0 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market, however, grew more pessimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 16.9 percent from 17.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 19.7 percent from 17.2 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined to 15.4 percent from 17.5 percent.