Consumers can’t seem to make up their minds about how confident they are about the economy.
The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index, which rose in September, fell in October. The Index is now at 97.6, down from 102.6 last month. Of the two components, the Present Situation Index fell to 112.1 from 120.3, while the Expectations Index slipped to 88 from 90.8.
Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumers were less positive in their assessment of present-day conditions, in particular the job market, and were moderately less optimistic about the short-term outlook. Despite the decline, consumers still rate current conditions favorably, but they do not anticipate the economy strengthening much in the near-term.”
Consumers’ appraisals of current conditions was less positive this month compared with last month. Those who said business conditions are “good” fell to 26.5 percent from 28.1 percent, while those who said business conditions were “bad” rose to 18.3 percent from 16.4 percent. They were also less upbeat about the job market, with respondents noting that jobs are “plentiful” falling to 22.2 percent from 24.8 percent. Those who said jobs are “hard to get” rose to 25.8 percent from 24.9 percent.
Looking ahead, the short-term outlook about six months out was also more subdued in the current survey, for which the cutoff for preliminary results was Oct. 15. Those who said business conditions would improve was unchanged at 18.1 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased slightly to 10.6 percent from 10.4 percent.
On the labor front, those expecting more jobs in the months ahead slipped to 14.5 percent from 14.9 percent, while those who said they were anticipating few jobs also rose to 16.9 percent from 15.9 percent. Further, consumers who said they were expecting their incomes to rise fell to 18 percent from 18.7 percent.