Consumers are getting pessimistic again.
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which rose in January, is back down in February. Standing now at 96.4, the Index slipped from 103.8 last month. Both components of the Index fell, contributing to this month’s declines. The present situation component slipped to 110.2 from 113.9, while the expectations index dropped to 87.2 from 97.
Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions remained positive, but short-term expectations declined. While the number of consumers expecting conditions to deteriorate was virtually unchanged, fewer consumers expect conditions to improve, prompting a less upbeat outlook.”
That said, the Index is still within pre-recession levels. In September 2007, the Index was at 99.5.
In their assessment of current conditions, respondents who said business conditions are “good” fell to 26 percent from 28.2 percent. As for their expectations about six months out, those who said business conditions will improve fell to 16.1 percent from 18.9 percent.
Their outlook on the jobs front also reflected a decline in optimism from last month. Consumers were less hopeful about jobs in the months ahead, with those anticipating more jobs falling to 13.4 percent from 17.3 percent. The proportion of those expecting their incomes to growth also saw a decline to 15.1 percent from 19.5 percent.