The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in August, fell further in September. The index now stands at 99.8, down from 105.6 in August.
“The Consumer Confidence Index is now at its lowest level in nearly two years,” says Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “Weaker business conditions combined with a less favorable job market continue to cast a cloud over consumers and heighten their sense of uncertainty and concern. Looking ahead, little economic improvement is expected, and with the holiday season around the corner, this is not welcome news.”
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions waned further in September. Those claiming conditions are “good” decreased to 25.7% from 26.2%, while those saying conditions are “bad” increased to 17.9% from 16.3%.
Consumers also were less positive in their assessment of the labor market. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 22.1% from 19.7%. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 25.7% from 27.5% in August.
Consumers’ expectations for the next six months weakened further in September. Those anticipating that business conditions will worsen rose to 11.8% from 10.2%. However, those expecting business conditions to improve edged up to 15.6% from 15%.
The outlook for the labor market was mixed. The percent of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead inched up to 13.3% from 12.9%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 18.7% from 15.2%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase in the months ahead improved moderately to 20.4% from 19.8%.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households and is conducted monthly for the New York–based Conference Board.