Consumer confidence slips in September


The much-watched Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index enjoyed a healthy uptick during the month of August 2010. But it gave it all back and then some during the month of September, falling from 53.2 to 48.5. Of course, both numbers pale compared to the established 1985 par of 100.

The confidence number not only slipped underneath the August figure, it also submerged beneath July’s 51.0 reading.

Two other key indicators also retreated. The Present Situation Index fell from 24.9 to 23.1, and the Expectations Index fell from 72.0 to 65.4.

CB’s Lynn Franco said, “September’s pull-back in confidence was due to less favorable business and labor market conditions, coupled with a more pessimistic short-term outlook. Overall, consumers’ confidence in the state of the economy remains quite grim. And, with so few expecting conditions to improve in the near term, the pace of economic growth is not likely to pick up in the coming months.”

46.1% believe current business conditions are bad, compared to 8.1% who believe they are good. The August numbers were better: 42.3% and 8.4%, respectively. And 46.1% say jobs are hard to get, compared to 45.5% in August.

Only 13.4% expect an improvement in business conditions within the next six months, compared to 13.4% a month earlier.

RBR-TVBR observation: One should always have the salt shaker handy when reading surveys like this. And we would note that while CB was finding a downturn in confidence, the stock market was moving in the opposite direction. Still, a tea leaf is a tea leaf, and this one isn’t very good.