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Consumer Confidence Down in November

Evaluations of present situations and expectations both decline.

Consumer confidence declined for the third consecutive month in November, although at a slower rate than it did in October.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index for November pulled back to 70.4. While down from 72.4 in October, the month-over-month decline is far smaller than the 7.8-point contraction from September’s mark of 80.2. Confidence retreated significantly in the wake of the government shutdown during the first half of last month.

The Present Situation Index retreated to 72.0 this month from 72.6 in October and 73.5 in September, while the Expectations Index descended to 69.3 from 72.2 in October and 84.7 in September.

Almost exactly two-thirds – 66.6 percent – of respondents this month said they expected business conditions to be about the same in six months, while 16.6 percent said they expect them to be better, up from 16 percent last month, and 16.8 percent expect them to be worse, down from 17.5 percent. Those rating current business conditions as good rose to 19.9 percent from 19.5 percent last month, but a larger percentage apprised them as bad – 25.2 percent, up from 23 percent in October.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said the public’s sentiments suggest “a challenging holiday season for retailers” is ahead.

“Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened while economic conditions had slowed,” she said. “However, these sentiments did not carry over into the short-term outlook. When looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earning prospects but remain neutral about economic conditions.”

The percentage expecting more jobs in six months, which fluctuated only slightly between September and October, declined to 12.7 percent this month. It stood at 16 percent last month and at 16.1 percent in September. The 12.7 mark this month is the lowest of the year. The highest was 19.7 percent back in June.