Industry News

Katrina wipes out consumer confidence

More Americans expect fewer jobs, falling incomes

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The Conference Board today announced its consumer confidence index, which had rebounded in August, plummeted in September. The index now stands at 86.6, down from 105.5 in August. The present situation index decreased to 108.9 from 123.8. The expectations index fell to 71.7 from 93.3 last month. "Hurricane Katrina, coupled with soaring gasoline prices and a less optimistic job outlook, has pushed consumer confidence to its lowest level in nearly two years (81.7 in October 2003) and created a degree of uncertainty and concern about the short-term future," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Historically, shocks have had a short-term impact on consumer confidence, especially on consumers' expectations," Franco said. "Fuel prices remain high, though they have retreated in recent days, and when combined with a weaker job market outlook, will likely curb both confidence and spending for the short-run. As rebuilding efforts take hold and...