Consumer Confidence Climbs In September

Consumer confidence grew in September, building on an increase in August. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index reached 138.4 in September, up from 134.7 in August.

"After a considerable improvement in August, Consumer Confidence increased further in September and hovers at an 18-year high," says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "The September reading is not far from the all-time high of 144.7 reached in 2000. Consumers' assessment of current conditions remains extremely favorable, bolstered by a strong economy and robust job growth. The Expectations Index surged in September, suggesting solid economic growth exceeding 3.0 percent for the remainder of the year. These historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending and should be welcome news for retailers as they begin gearing up for the holiday season."

Looking closer at the Conference Board’s results, its Present Situation Index improved slightly, from 172.8 in August to 173.1, while its Expectations Index surged upwards to 115.3 in September from 109.3 last month.

The Conference Board found that consumers' September assessment of current conditions was in line with the previous month. Those describing business conditions as "good" increased from 40.5 percent to 41.4 percent, while those saying they were "bad" slipped from 9.3 percent to 9.1 percent. Consumers' take on the labor market was also somewhat more favorable. Those stating that jobs are "plentiful" increased from 42.3 percent to 45.7 percent, but those claiming they are "hard to get" increased from 12.1 percent to 13.2 percent.

Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook grew considerably in September. The share expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 24.4 percent to 27.6 percent, while those anticipating worsening business conditions declined from 9.9 percent to 8 percent. The outlook on the labor market was similarly upbeat. The share of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 21.5 percent to 22.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 13.2 percent to 11 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined from 25.4 percent to 22.6 percent, while the share expecting a decrease declined more marginally, from 6.9 percent to 6.5 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.

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