Consumer Confidence Rises in September
U.S. consumer confidence rose for the second consecutive month as gas prices fell.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 108 in September from 103.6 in August.
“Consumer confidence improved in September for the second consecutive month, supported in particular by jobs, wages, and declining gas prices,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.
The Present Situation Index, which measures consumers’ outlook on current business and labor market conditions, rose to 149.6 in September from 145.3 last month. It had declined from April through July.
Respondents had a more positive view of current business conditions in September.
The percentage of consumers who said current business conditions are “good” was up to 21 percent from 19 percent last month, while those who said conditions were “bad” decreased, down to 21 percent, compared with 23 percent in August.
Consumers also had a more positive view of the labor market, with 49 percent of respondents saying jobs are “plentiful,” up from 48 percent last month.
The percentage of respondents who felt jobs were “hard to get” was down slightly to 11.4 percent from 11.6 percent in August.
The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, rose to 80.3 from 75.8.
“The Expectations Index also improved from summer lows, but recession risks nonetheless persist,” said Franco. “Concerns about inflation dissipated further in September—prompted largely by declining prices at the gas pump—and are now at their lowest level since the start of the year.”
Respondents took an optimistic view of the short-term business outlook, with 19 percent expecting business conditions to improve, up from 17 percent in August.
Fewer expected conditions to worsen, down to 21 percent from 22 percent last month.
Consumers’ view of the short-term labor market was also positive, with more respondents expecting more jobs to be available, up to 18 percent from 17 percent.
Fewer respondents also expect there to be fewer jobs, down to 18 percent from 20 percent.
Consumers were also more optimistic about short-term financial prospects, with 18 percent expecting incomes to increase, up from 17 percent last month.
However, slightly more respondents expect their incomes to decrease, up to 14.3 percent from 13.9 percent in August.
Purchasing intentions were mixed, said Franco, with plans to buy cars and appliances on the rise while home purchase plans fell, which she attributed to rising mortgage rates and a “cooling” housing market.
“Looking ahead, the improvement in confidence may bode well for consumer spending in the final months of 2022, but inflation and interest-rate hikes remain strong headwinds to growth in the short term,” concluded Franco.
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