Consumer Confidence Index edges down

Lynn Franco

A measure of consumer confidence has edged down on less upbeat expectations for business and labor conditions, but remains encouraging heading into the holiday season.

“Confidence levels remain high, and there are no indications that consumers will curtail their holiday spending,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators for the Conference Board.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index fell four-tenths of a point to 125.9 in October.

The business research and membership group bases the index on the results of monthly household surveys. Economists monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the county.

For October, assessments of current business and labor conditions pushed up the present situation component of the index 1.7 points to 172.3.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the October index was based who described business conditions as “good” rose 1.8 points to 39.2 percent. The share of those who characterized business conditions as “bad” fell a point to 11.2 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs were “plentiful” rose 2.4 points to 46.9 percent. The share of those who called jobs “hard to get” also rose — eight-tenths of a point to 11.8 percent.

The short-term outlook pulled down the expectations component of the index 1.9 points to 94.9.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months fell 1.4 points to 18.6 percent. The proportion of those anticipating worsening conditions also fell —  1.7 points to 11.6 percent.

The share of consumers who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months decreased seven-tenths of a point to 16.9 percent. The proportion of those anticipating fewer jobs increased 2.4 points to 17.8 percent.

While 21.1 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase, up 1.4 points, the proportion anticipating a decrease held steady at 6.5 percent.