Surveys

Consumer Confidence Falls in September Amid Rising Recession Fears

SurveysSep 27, 2023

Consumer Confidence Falls in September Amid Rising Recession Fears

Shoppers also expressed concern about rising prices, higher interest rates, and political uncertainty.

Hands pushing a shopping cart
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 103 in September from 108.7 in August.
New York—U.S. consumer confidence fell again in September, marking the second consecutive month of decline as recession fears heighten.  
 
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index decreased to 103 in September from a slightly upwardly revised 108.7 in August.  
 
“Write-in responses showed that consumers continued to be preoccupied with rising prices in general, and for groceries and gasoline in particular. Consumers also expressed concerns about the political situation and higher interest rates,” said Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board. 
 
“The decline in consumer confidence was evident across all age groups, and notably among consumers with household incomes of $50,000 or more.” 
  
The Present Situation Index, which measures consumers’ current view of business and labor market conditions, rose slightly to 147 from just under 147 in August. 
 
“Assessments of the present situation were little changed overall, due to divergent views on the state of business conditions and job availability,” said Peterson. 
 
Consumers’ view of current business conditions was a mixed bag in September, with the percentage of respondents who said current business conditions are “good” down to 21 percent from 22 percent in August, while those who said conditions are “bad” was down to 16 percent from 17 percent. 
 
Consumers had a slightly more positive view of the current labor market.  
 
The percentage of respondents who felt jobs were plentiful was up to 41 percent in September from 40 percent in August, while 14 percent said jobs were “hard to get” compared with 13 percent. 
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
  
The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions in the near future, fell sharply to 74 from 83 in August.  
 
When expectations fall below 80, that historically signals a recession within the next year, said the Conference Board, a prediction it announced in July
 
“Consumer fears of an impending recession also ticked back up, consistent with the short and shallow economic contraction we anticipate for the first half of 2024,” it said. 
 
Economist Peterson said the results reflected “less confidence about future business conditions, job availability, and incomes.” 
 
The number of respondents saying a recession is “somewhat” or “very likely” rose in September after falling in August. 
 
“Consumers may be hearing more bad news about corporate earnings, while job openings are narrowing, and interest rates continue to rise, making big-ticket items more expensive,” she said. 
 
The month-to-month fluctuation of consumers’ recession predictions reflects uncertainty, she said, noting they have mixed buying plans for high-price items. 
 
On a six-month moving average basis, plans to buy cars were flat while plans to buy appliances continued to trend upward. 
 
However, plans to buy homes continued to trend downward, due in part to rising interest rates. 
 
Looking at short-term business conditions, respondents’ outlooks were more pessimistic, with 14 percent expecting business conditions to improve, down from 18 percent in August.  
  
More respondents expect business conditions to worsen—18 percent compared with 17 percent.  
  
Consumers’ view of the short-term labor market also was bleaker.  
  
Fewer respondents expect more jobs to be available, down to 16 from 18 percent.  
  
Meanwhile, 19 percent expect there to be fewer jobs, up from 18 percent in August.  
 
Consumers’ short-term income expectations were also down, as was their assessment of short-term income prospects. 
 
Fewer respondents expect to see their incomes increase, down to 16 percent from 19 percent in August. Fourteen percent expect their incomes to decrease, up from 12 percent.  
 
The Conference Board recently added a new set of questions to its monthly survey, asking consumers how they felt about their family finances.  
 
In September, views of their families’ current financial situation and the situation six months from now worsened. 
 
Expectations for lower interest rates declined in September after rising in August, while outlook for higher stock prices continued to fall, said Peterson. 
 
“Notably, average 12-month inflation expectations have held steady over the past three months despite ongoing complaints about higher prices,” she said. 
 
The consumer confidence results for October will be released on Oct. 31. 
 

The Latest

Brian and Jessie Mann
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
Longtime D.C. Jeweler Brian Mann Dies at 70

Mann, whose family’s jewelry store was located inside the Pentagon, is remembered for being a thoughtful champion of the industry.

Tudor store in Denver
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
The 1916 Company Opens New Tudor Boutique

The 500-square-foot boutique is located in Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

Messika’s So Move Max Necklace
CollectionsJul 19, 2024
Piece of the Week: Messika’s ‘So Move Max’ Necklace

Dance all night long with the “So Move Max” set’s necklace.

Untitled design.jpg
Brought to you by
The End of an Era? Lab-Grown Diamonds' Journey Towards Price Stability

As the demand for lab-grown diamond jewelry may still be increasing, the most notable change we are likely to see is price stabilization.

Julien Tornare and Antoine Pin
WatchesJul 18, 2024
TAG Heuer, Hublot Will Have New CEOs

Luxury giant LVMH is reshuffling the leadership in its watches division.

Weekly QuizJul 18, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these questions.
Take the Quiz
Etsy billboard rendering in NYC
MajorsJul 18, 2024
New Etsy Campaign Prioritizes Creators Amid Backlash

Sellers and shoppers have spoken out against a rise in mass-produced merchandise on the platform meant to highlight handmade goods.

Ariana Grande Modeling in Swarovski Jewelry
MajorsJul 18, 2024
Swarovski Names Ariana Grande as Its New Brand Ambassador

The celebrity will star in Swarovski’s holiday campaign.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Grizzly emerald
SourcingJul 18, 2024
Grizzly Emerald Auction Garners $32.5 million

The miner said an 835-carat emerald saw “stiff competition” in its July sale.

Tahnee Barbee, Gigi Sui, and Daniela Villacorta
Events & AwardsJul 18, 2024
MJSA Education Foundation Announces 3 Scholarship Winners

The winners were awarded $3,000 each to pursue a professional career in jewelry making and design.

Radhika Merchant’s Wedding Portrait
EditorsJul 17, 2024
6 Lavish Looks from the Ambani Wedding

Feast your eyes on the elaborate jewels worn during the wedding celebration of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

Smiling Rocks Haute Couture Dream Necklace
Lab-GrownJul 17, 2024
Lab-Grown Diamond ‘Dream’ Necklace Sells for $122K at Charity Auction

The piece, created by Smiling Rocks, was the top lot at the recent Ormeley Dinner.

Diavik Diamond Mine solar power plant
SourcingJul 17, 2024
Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Down 28% in Q2

The company’s sole remaining diamond operation, Diavik, produced 702,000 carats of diamonds, down from 970,000 a year ago.

Buccellati high jewelry earrings
FinancialsJul 17, 2024
Richemont’s Q1 Jewelry Sales Up 2%

In contrast, the luxury giant’s watch sales fell 14 percent.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest.
Events & AwardsJul 16, 2024
2024 AGTA Spectrum Awards Open for Entries

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest and the deadline for entries has just been extended.

Macy’s Herald Square store
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Macy’s Ends Buyout Talks

The retailer will not be making a deal with Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital Management, opting to focus on its turnaround plan.

Crime police cars
CrimeJul 16, 2024
Thieves Nab $500K in Jewelry in Calif. Group Smash-and-Grab

The Berkeley robbery follows two other Bay Area robberies involving multiple suspects, one in May and one in June.

National Jeweler columnist Lilian Raji
ColumnistsJul 16, 2024
The PR Adviser: Awareness Starts With Your Online Store

Lilian Raji discusses the importance of having an intentional website design that aligns with your brand or store’s goals.

Catbird The Met collection
CollectionsJul 16, 2024
Catbird Debuts New Met Collection

It’s the second collaborative offering from the jewelry brand and the New York City art museum.

Craftsman holding Pomellato Arengario necklace
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Pomellato Acquires Valenza Setting Lab

The Kering-owned brand bought VSL to reinforce its manufacturing capabilities.

Ewa Abrams, Kering’s new president for the Americas
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Kering Appoints New President for Americas Region

The luxury conglomerate promoted General Counsel Ewa Abrams to the role, succeeding Laurent Claquin.

Tanzanite ring
MajorsJul 15, 2024
Signet Falls 11 Spots on NRF’s ‘Top 100’ Retailers List

The jewelry giant came in at No. 67 on the list, down from No. 56 last year.

 2025 Gem Awards logo
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
Nominations Are Open for the 2025 Gem Awards

Submissions in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence, and Retail Excellence will be accepted through Aug. 23.

Sunlit’s Sun Goddess Supreme Ring and Pyramid Rutilated Quartz Necklace
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
NY Now Expands Emerging Designer Segment for Its Summer Market

Curated at Luxury Lifestyle will build on the former initiative, the Emerging Fine Jewelry Designer Incubator.

Collage of Caitlin Albritton and her jewelry
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
Halstead Announces 2024 Grant Winner

Caitlin Albritton won the 19th annual Halstead Grant for emerging jewelry businesses.

Myne London
CollectionsJul 12, 2024
Myne London to Support Malala Fund

The emerald supplier will donate a percentage of sales from its “Star Power” earrings to the nonprofit in support of girls’ education.

The Jewelry Symposium logo
Events & AwardsJul 12, 2024
The Jewelry Symposium Is Looking for Speakers

TJS is seeking jewelry manufacturing and technology experts to speak at its 2025 event.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy