Consumer confidence drops in September

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Consumer confidence declined in September, The Conference Board said today.

The board’s Consumer Confidence Index stands at 86.0, down from 93.4 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 89.4 from 93.9 and the Expectations Index dropped to 83.7 from 93.1.

“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,” The Conference Board director of economic indicators Lynn Franco said in a statement.

“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 with a month earlier. Their view of business conditions was virtually unchanged: Those who said conditions are “good” fell minutely, from 23.5 to 23.4 percent, and those who said conditions are “bad” held constant, at 21.3 percent.

Consumers’ appraisal of the job market declined more appreciably, with those who said jobs are “plentiful” falling from 17.6 percent to 15.1 percent. Those who said jobs are “hard to get” was barely changed, at 30.1 percent, compared with 30.0 percent in August.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook declined considerably. The percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to improve during the next six months fell from 20.8 percent to 18.6 percent and those who expect business conditions to worsen rose from 9.9 percent to 12.0 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market likewise took a downturn. Those who anticipate more jobs in the months ahead fell from 17.8 percent to 15.2 percent and those who anticipate fewer jobs rose from 15.2 percent to 17.8 percent.

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