September 30, 2008

Consumer Confidence Edges Up Slightly, Reports The Conference Board


Contact: Lynn Franco, The Conference Board, +1-212-339-0344, [email protected]

But Current Economic Environment Remains Weak

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved moderately in August, posted a slight gain in September. The Index now stands at 59.8 (1985=100), up from 58.5 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 58.8 from 65.0 last month. The Expectations Index, however, increased to 60.5 from 54.1 in August.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the worlds largest custom research company. The cutoff date for Septembers preliminary results was September 23rd.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: Septembers increase in the Consumer Confidence Index was due solely to an improvement in the short-term outlook. However, these results did not capture all of the tumultuous events in the financial sector this month, and until the dust settles a bit more, we will not know the full impact on consumers expectations. Shocks, such as the 1987 crash, generally tend to have a temporary adverse affect on confidence, lasting on average two to four months, unless they result in significant job losses. Just as noteworthy, consumers assessment of current conditions continues to indicate that the current economic environment remains quite weak.

Consumers appraisal of current conditions eroded further in September. Those saying business conditions are bad increased to 34.2 percent from 32.7 percent, while those claiming business conditions are good declined to 12.5 percent from 13.7 percent last month. Consumers assessment of the labor market continues to deteriorate. Those saying jobs are hard to get rose to 32.8 percent from 31.7 percent in August, while those claiming jobs are plentiful decreased to 12.2 percent from 13.5 percent.

Consumers short-term outlook improved again, but overall remains grim. Those anticipating business conditions to worsen over the next six months declined to 21.3 percent from 25.2 percent, while those expecting conditions to improve rose to 13.5 percent from 12.0 percent.

The outlook for the job market also moderately improved. The percent of consumers anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead declined to 26.8 percent from 30.0 percent, while those anticipating more jobs increased to 11.8 percent from 10.7 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase in the months ahead decreased slightly to 14.2 percent from 15.4 percent.


Consumer Confidence Survey

September 2008

The Conference Board

SOURCE The Conference Board

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