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Consumer confidence declines in September

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Consumer confidence declines in September

Decline follows four months of improvement.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in August, declined in September. The Index now stands at 86.0, down from 93.4 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 89.4 from 93.9, while the Expectations Index dropped to 83.7 from 93.1 in August.

"All told, consumers expect economic growth to ease in the months ahead." 

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: "Consumer confidence retreated in September after four consecutive months of improvement. A less positive assessment of the current job market, most likely due to the recent softening in growth, was the sole reason for the decline in consumers' assessment of present-day conditions. Looking ahead, consumers were less confident about the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market, and somewhat mixed regarding their future earnings potential. All told, consumers expect economic growth to ease in the months ahead." 

Consumers assessed current conditions less favorably in September compared to a month ago. Their view of business conditions was virtually unchanged: those saying conditions are "good" fell minutely, from 23.5 to 23.4%, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" held constant at 21.3%. Consumers' appraisal of the job market declined more appreciably, with the proportion stating jobs are "plentiful" falling from 17.6% to 15.1%. Those claiming jobs are "hard to get" was barely changed, at 30.1% versus 30.0% in August.

Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook declined considerably in September. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 20.8% to 18.6%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 9.9% to 12.0%. Consumers' outlook for the labor market likewise took a downturn. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead fell from 17.8% to 15.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 15.2% to 17.8%. The proportion of consumers expecting growth in their incomes rose in September to 16.8%, compared to 15.5% in August. However, the proportion expecting a drop in income also rose—to 13.4% versus 11.6% a month ago.

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