Consumer Confidence Cooled in October

Don Hogsett, November 13, 2006

Consumer confidence subsided slightly during October after making a big run up the month before, as Americans continue to fret about the jobs market and current business conditions, The Conference Board reported.

After jumping up by 5.7% in September as gas prices came down, confidence levels waned by 0.5% during October, slipping to a reading of 105.4, down from 105.9 the month before.

"October's dip in confidence was prompted by consumers' mixed assessment of present-day business conditions and a less favorable view of the job market," said Lynn Franco, director of the business think tank's Consumer Research Center.

"Consumers' short-term expectations posted a slight improvement, but the outlook for the labor market remains mixed," said Franco. "Overall, this month's readings continue to suggest a moderate pace of economic growth and more of the same for the first few months of 2007."

Consumers cast a colder eye on present-day conditions than they had in September, said The Conference Board. Those claiming conditions are 'bad' rose to 17.1% from 15.6% a month ago. At the same time, the number who said conditions are 'good' rose slightly, to 28.1% from 27.3%.

In a key bellwether of future consumer spending, consumers' views of the labor market were less positive. The number who said jobs are 'plentiful' declined to 25.8% from 26.2%, while the number who said jobs are 'hard to get' climbed higher to 22.0% from 20.9%.

Confidence by Region

Region % Change
Source: The Conference Board
New England 2.0%
Middle Atlantic 7.9
East North Central -4.6
West North Central -1.6
South Atlantic 7.0
East South Central -8.8
West South Central 6.3
Mountain -4.2
Pacific 2.2

Buying Plans October
Plans to purchase over the next six months

Source: The Conference Board
Homes 0.0%
Carpets -4.4
Cars 3.3
Major appliances 2.5
Vacations 6.9

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