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Consumer Confidence Falls to Its Lowest in Nine Months

Consumers were more pessimistic this time about their short-term outlook over the next six months.

Consumer confidence fell this month, after rising in July, to its lowest level since November 2011 as more Americans turned negative in their short-term outlook.

The Conference Board, which conducts the monthly study, said the Consumer Confidence Index fell to 60.6 from a downward revision to 65.4 last month. Economists had expected the Index to rise to 66.

Of the two components, it was the Expectations Index, which measures short-term outlook about six months out, that fell the most, declining to 70.5 from 78.4. The Present Situation Index, measuring current sentiment, dipped slightly to 45.8 from 45.9.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumers are more apprehensive about business and employment prospects, but more optimistic about their financial prospects despite rising inflation expectations.”

As has been typical for each monthly report, the jobs front plays an important role in determining how confident consumers are about their financial future.

This month optimism about the jobs front on a short-term basis deteriorated as the number of respondents who expect business conditions to improve fell to 16.5 percent from 19 percent. In addition, those who expect fewer jobs over the next six months rose to 23.4 percent from 20.6 percent.