Consumer Confidence Hits the Skids

135093244The Conference Board released the reading on consumer confidence for the month of September — and the report looks like confidence hit the skids. The reading was 86.0, which fell below the Bloomberg estimate of 92.5 and was well under the revised reading from August at 93.4.

In August, consumer confidence was led by strength in the current assessment component and it rose 2.1 points to a new recovery high. This is reflective of a 6.7 point surge in the present situation component to 94.6. The gain in the present situation offset a soft reading in the expectations component, which fell to 90.9, a 1.0 drop.

For September, business conditions remained virtually unchanged. Those saying conditions are "good" dropped slightly, from 23.5% to 23.4%. Business conditions that were rated as "bad" held constant at 21.3%.

The consumer appraisal of the job market fell noticeably. Those giving a rating of "plentiful" fell to 15.1% from 17.6%. Also those claiming jobs are "hard to get" remained relatively unchanged, at 30.1% versus 30.0% in the previous month.

The short-term outlook for consumer optimism fell considerably in September. Consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell to 18.6% from 20.8%. Those expecting business conditions to worsen rose to 12.0% from 9.9%.

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Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, commented on the state of consumer confidence:

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.

If anyone is looking for any good news here, it may be that this report was so bad that it won't add any additional pressure on the Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates sooner than expected.

Filed under: Economy
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