Consumer Confidence Slips Slightly In September

Consumer sentiment ticked down slightly in September, according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. Though the index improved marginally in August, it now stands at 119.8, down from 120.4 the month before. Breaking the Conference Board’s findings down a bit, the Present Situation Index increased from 148.4 to 146.1, while the Expectations Index rose slightly from 101.7 last month to 102.2. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.

“Consumer confidence decreased slightly in September after a marginal improvement in August,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Confidence in Texas and Florida, however, decreased considerably, as these two states were the most severely impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Despite the slight downtick in confidence, consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable and their expectations for the short-term suggest the economy will continue expanding at its current pace.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions cooled in September, with the share describing business conditions as “good” slipping from 34.5 percent to 33.9 percent, and the number saying that they were bad ticked up from 13.2 to 13.8 percent. A similar trend was evident in their opinions of the labor market, with those claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined from 14.4 percent to 32.6 percent, although those who consider jobs “hard to get” did ease from 18.4 percent to 18.1 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the short-term also improved in September. The percentage expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 19.8 percent to 20.2 percent. However, those expecting business conditions to worsen climbed from 8 percent to 9.9 percent. Their outlook for the labor market was more favorable in September than the in previous month. The share expecting more jobs in the months ahead improved from 16.8 percent to 19.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose incrementally from 13.2 percent to 13.5 percent.

Expectations for short-term income prospects also improved in September. The percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in their income increased from 19.0 percent to 20.5 percent.  declined moderately from 19.9 percent to 20 percent, while the proportion expecting a decline was unchanged from August at 8.3 percent.

filed under September 2017
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