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Americans’ consumer confidence a little higher

Posted by Editor on November 2, 2018
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The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased again in October following a modest improvement in September. The Index now stands at 137.9, up from 135.3 in September.

The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – improved from 169.4 to 172.8. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 112.5 last month to 114.6 this month.

“Consumer confidence increased in October, following a modest gain in September, and remains at levels last seen in the fall of 2000 (September 2000, 142.5),” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions remains quite positive, primarily due to strong employment growth. The Expectations Index posted another gain in October, suggesting that consumers do not foresee the economy losing steam anytime soon. Rather, they expect the strong pace of growth to carry over into early 2019.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in October. The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are “good” increased from 39.9 percent to 40.5 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 9.6 percent to 9.2 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more favorable. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased from 44.1 percent to 45.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 14.1 percent to 13.2 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term future increased further in October. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 25.8 percent to 26.3 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen declined, from 8.3 percent to 7.4 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was somewhat mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 22.1 percent to 21.9 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased, from 11.4 percent to 10.5 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose from 22.5 percent to 24.7 percent, but the proportion expecting a decrease increased from 7.6 percent to 8.5 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Oct. 18.

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