Consumer Confidence Climbs In October

Consumer confidence grew in October, continuing the upward trend of recent months. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index reached 137.9 in October, up from 135.3 in September. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.

Looking closer at the Conference Board’s results, the Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—improved from 169.4 to 172.8. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions—increased from 112.5 in September to 114.6 in October.

“Consumer Confidence increased in October, following a modest gain in September, and remains at levels last seen in the fall of 2000,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions remains quite positive, primarily due to strong employment growth. The Expectations Index posted another gain in October, suggesting that consumers do not foresee the economy losing steam anytime soon. Rather, they expect the strong pace of growth to carry over into early 2019.”

The Conference Board’s survey found that consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in October. The share of consumers describing business conditions as “good” grew from 39.9 percent to 40.5 percent, while those saying they are “bad” decreased from 9.6 percent to 9.2 percent. Their perception of the labor market was also more favorable in October, with the percentage of consumers describing jobs as “plentiful” increasing from 44.1 percent to 45.9 percent, while those saying they are “hard to get” slipped from 14.1 percent to 13.2 percent.

The survey also highlighted growing optimism for the short-term future in October. The proportion of consumers predicting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 25.8 percent to 26.3 percent, while the share expecting them to worsen ticked down from 8.3 percent to 7.4 percent.

Consumers’ outlook regarding the labor market future was more mixed, the survey found. The share expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 22.1 percent to 21.9 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased, from 11.4 percent to 10.5 percent. Regarding short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose from 22.5 percent to 24.7 percent, and those expecting a decrease increased from 7.6 percent to 8.5 percent.

filed under November 2018
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