Consumer confidence was at its lowest level in four months in September.
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 79.7 from 81.8 in August.
“Consumer confidence decreased in September as concerns about the short-term outlook for both jobs and earnings resurfaced, while expectations for future business conditions were little changed,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, said in a statement.
“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, however, was more positive. While overall economic conditions appear to have moderately improved, consumers are uncertain that the momentum can be sustained in the months ahead.”
Bloomberg reported that uneven employment growth and limited wage gains are keeping consumer purchases, which make up about 70 percent of the world’s largest economy, from accelerating. At the same time, a pickup in household wealth reflecting improved property values and higher stock prices could help ensure Americans won’t retrench.
“The quality as well as the pace of new jobs has not been improving,” Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist in New York at BNP Paribas, told Bloomberg before The Conference Board issued its report.
The Conference Board said consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved moderately. Those who said business conditions are “good” increased to 19.5 percent from 18.7 percent; those who said business conditions are “bad” decreased to 23.9 percent from 24.5 percent.
Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also was more favorable. Those who said jobs are “plentiful” increased slightly to 11.5 percent from 11.3 percent; those who said jobs are “hard to get” decreased to a five-year low of 32.7 percent from 33.3 percent.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market, however, grew more pessimistic. Those who anticipate that there will be more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 16.9 percent from 17.5 percent. Those who expect fewer jobs increased to 19.7 percent from 17.2 percent.
The proportion of consumers expecting their income to increase declined to 15.4 percent from 17.5 percent.