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Confidence Slides in September

With Americans growing increasingly anxious about the employment outlook, consumer confidence fell for a second straight month in September, sliding 1.9 percent to a current level of 96.8, down from 98.7 in August.

The widely watched gauge of consumer sentiment — a bellwether of future consumer spending — has now dropped 8.4 percent over the past two months, from a 13-month high of 105.7 reached in July.

“The recent declines in the index were caused primarily by a deterioration in consumers' assessment of employment conditions,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. “Soft labor-market conditions have clearly taken a toll on consumer confidence.”

Consumers' sentiment of the job market worsened during September, the business think tank reported. The number of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” declined to 16.8 percent from 18.4 percent the preceding month. At the same time, the number who said jobs are “hard to get” climbed to 28.3 percent from 26 percent in August.

Looking out six months, the employment outlook was mixed. The number of consumers who expect fewer jobs to become available increased to 16.1 percent from 15.1 percent a month ago. The number who expect more jobs to become available also rose, to 17.7 percent from 16.3 percent. The number of consumers who expect their incomes to improve in the months ahead edged up to 20 percent from 19.7 percent.

Consumer confidence by region

Source: The Conference Board
New England -6.1%
Middle Atlantic 6.8
East North Central -8.6
West North Central -1.0
South Atlantic 6.9
East South Central -8.2
West South Central 1.9
Mountain 8.1
Pacific 2.8

Consumer buying plans September
Plans to purchase over the next six months

Source: The Conference Board
Homes -2.6%
Carpets -1.9
Cars -1.5
Major Appliances 3.1
Vacation -1.4

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