Consumer confidence took another hit in September, falling to its lowest level in nearly two years, as Americans grew more cautious about current business conditions and a softer job market, The Conference Board reported today.
The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 99.8 this month from 105.6 in August, and hasn’t been this low since November 2005 when it registered 98.3.
“Weaker business conditions combined with a less favorable job market continue to cast a cloud over consumers and heighten their sense of uncertainty and concern,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. “Looking ahead, little economic improvement is expected, and with the holiday season around the corner, this is not welcome news.”
According to the survey, the percentage of consumers claiming current-day business conditions are good decreased to 25.7 percent in September from 26.2 percent in August, while those saying conditions are “bad” increased to 17.9 percent from 16.3 percent.
The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 22.1 percent this month from 19.7 percent in August, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 25.7 percent from 27.5 percent.
Consumers’ expectations for the next six months weakened in September, as those anticipating business conditions to worsen rose to 11.8 percent from 10.2 percent. However, those anticipating business conditions to improve edged up to 15.6 percent from 15 percent.
Although the survey found that 13.3 percent expect more jobs in the months ahead compared with 12.9 percent in August, the percentage anticipating fewer jobs rose to 18.7 percent from 15.2 percent.
On a somewhat brighter note, the proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase in the months ahead improved moderately to 20.4 percent from 19.8 percent.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The cutoff date for September’s preliminary results was Sept. 18.