the decline in confidence over the past two months can be
attributed to the recent hurricanes, pump shock and a
weakening labor market
Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer
Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had
plummeted in September, declined again in October. The Index now
stands at 85.0 (1985=100), down from 87.5 in September. The
Present Situation Index declined to 108.2 from 110.4. The
Expectations Index decreased to 69.5 from 72.3 last month.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative
sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted
for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world’s largest
custom research company. The cutoff date for October’s
preliminary results was October 18th.
“Much of the decline in confidence over the past two months
can be attributed to the recent hurricanes, pump shock and a
weakening labor market,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The
Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’
assessment of current conditions, however, remains above
readings a year ago, but their short-term expectations are
significantly below last October’s level. This degree of
pessimism, in conjunction with the anticipation of much higher
home heating bills this winter, may take some cheer out of the
upcoming holiday season. In order to avoid a blue Christmas,
retailers will need to lure shoppers with sales and discounts.”
Consumers’ overall assessment of ongoing conditions was less
positive in October. Those claiming business conditions are
“good” decreased to 23.8 percent from 25.2 percent. Those
claiming conditions are “bad” increased to 18.6 percent from
17.8 percent. The employment picture was also less buoyant.
Consumers saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 25.3
percent from 25.0 percent, while those claiming jobs are
“plentiful” was virtually unchanged at 20.8 percent.
Consumers’ short-term outlook was mixed, but less positive
than last month. Those anticipating business conditions to
worsen in the next six months decreased to 18.4 percent from
19.6 percent. Those expecting business conditions to improve,
however, also declined to 14.0 percent from 15.4 percent.
The outlook for the labor market was less optimistic.
Consumers expecting more jobs to become available in the coming
months decreased to 12.2 percent from 14.0 percent, while those
expecting fewer jobs eased to 23.7 percent from 24.8 percent in
September. The proportion of consumers anticipating their
incomes to increase in the months ahead fell to 16.8 percent
from 18.1 percent last month.
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