Consumer Confidence Index rebounds

Lynn Franco

A measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions, but remains below levels posted before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose 15.5 points to 101.8 in September. Components of the index tracking current conditions as well as the short-term outlook increased.

“A more favorable view of current business and labor market conditions, coupled with renewed optimism about the short-term outlook, helped spur this month’s rebound in confidence,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “Consumers also expressed greater optimism about their short-term financial prospects, which may help keep spending from slowing further in the months ahead.”

The business membership and research group bases the index on the results of monthly household surveys.

More optimistic assessments of current conditions pushed the present situation component of the index up 12.7 points to 98.5.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the September index was based who called business conditions “good” rose 2.3 points to 18.3 percent. The share of those who called conditions “bad” fell 5.9 points to 37.4 percent. The proportion of those who said jobs were “plentiful” increased 1.5 points to 22.9 percent. The share of those who said jobs were “hard to get” decreased 3.6 points to 20 percent.

More upbeat responses also pushed up the expectations component of the index — 17.4 points to 104.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose 7.3 points to 37.1 percent. The proportion of those who said they anticipate worsening conditions fell 4.9 points to 15.8 percent. The share of those who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months increased 3.2 points to 33.1 percent. The proportion of those anticipating fewer jobs fell 5.6 points to 15.6 percent.