The Conference Board today announced that its Consumer Confidence Index posted a sharp decline in August — falling from 107 to 99.6 — as more Americans expect business conditions and job supply to worsen.
“Consumer confidence lost significant ground in August and is now at its lowest level this year,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Less favorable business conditions coupled with a less favorable job scenario have resulted in the largest one-month decline in confidence since Hurricane Katrina last year. Looking ahead, the glass remains half empty as consumers are growing increasingly more pessimistic about the short-term outlook.”
Consumers’ overall assessment of current conditions was significantly less favorable in August, as the present situation index decreased to 123.4 from 134.2. Those claiming conditions are “good” decreased to 26.1 percent from 27.3 percent. Those claiming conditions are “bad” increased to 16.7 percent from 15 percent. Labor market conditions were also less favorable, as those consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 24.4 percent from 28.6 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased to 21.1 percent from 19.6 in July.
Consumers’ outlook for the next six months turned more negative in August, as the expectations index declined to 83.8 from 88.9 last month. Those anticipating business conditions to worsen increased to 12.9 percent from 10.9 percent. Those expecting business conditions to improve edged down to 15.9 percent from 16.1 percent.
The outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. Those expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months decreased to 14 percent from 14.3 percent in July. Those expecting fewer jobs increased to 18.3 percent from 16.5 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes to increase in the months ahead declined to 17.7 percent from 18.3 percent.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.