Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: “The pessimism that shrouded consumers last month has spilled over into September. Consumer expectations, which had plummeted in August, posted a marginal gain. However, consumers expressed greater concern about their expected earnings, a sign that does not bode well for spending. In addition, consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined for the fifth consecutive month, a sign that the economic environment remains weak.”
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions weakened further in September. Those claiming business conditions are “good” decreased to 11.7 percent from 14.1 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” remained virtually unchanged at 40.4 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of employment conditions, however, was mixed. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased to 50.0 percent from 48.5 percent, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased to 5.5 percent from 4.8 percent.
Consumers’ short-term outlook, which had deteriorated sharply last month, improved slightly in September. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined to 22.6 percent from 24.6 percent.
Consumers were also slightly less pessimistic about the outlook for the job market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead edged up to 12.0 percent from 11.8 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs declined to 28.6 percent from 31.2 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes, however, declined to 13.3 percent from 14.3 percent.