Consumer confidence fell for the second consecutive month in September, private research group The Conference Board reported today.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index now stands at 96.8 (1985=100), down from 98.7 last month. The survey is based on a sample of 5,000 U.S. households.

Consumers’ assessment of overall present-day conditions was mixed, as those saying business conditions are “good” edged up to 23.6 percent from 23 percent, while those claiming conditions are “bad” remained flat at 20.3 percent, compared to 20.2 percent last month. The job situation was less favorable than in August. Consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” declined to 16.8 percent from 18.4 percent. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose to 28.3 percent from 26 percent in August.

Consumers’ outlook for the next six months is relatively unchanged. Those anticipating conditions to worsen in the next six months increased to 9.4 percent from 8.8 percent. But those expecting business conditions to improve increased to 21.4 percent from 20.2 percent last month.

The employment outlook for the next six months was also mixed. Consumers expecting fewer jobs increased to 16.1 percent from 15.1 percent, while those anticipating more jobs to become available rose to 17.7 percent from 16.3 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to improve in the months ahead edged up to 20 percent from 19.7 percent last month.

The present situation index fell to 95.5 from 100.7 in August. The expectations index was virtually unchanged at 97.6, compared with 97.3 last month.

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