Industry News

Oil, job worries hurt consumer confidence

Lower mortgage rates provide some relief

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Consumer confidence fell slightly in September due to rising oil prices and greater concerns about the sluggish pace of growth in employment, according to the latest University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. "The September loss in confidence was quite small, reflecting a continuation of the sideward movement that has dominated since the start of the year rather than indicating an emerging downturn," according to Richard Curtin, the director of the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers. The overall level of the sentiment index in the September survey was nearly identical to its average during the past eight months. The index of consumer sentiment was 94.2 in the September 2004 survey, slightly below the 95.9 in August, but well above the 87.7 recorded last September. The expectations index, a closely watched component of the index of leading economic indicators, was 88 in September, nearly equal to the 88.2 in August, and above the 80.8 recorded in September of 2003. Compare...