Consumer Confidence Index slips

Lynn Franco

A measure of consumer confidence has slipped as concerns about inflation and COVID-19 mount. 

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index fell 2.1 points to 109.5 in November. 

“Expectations about short-term growth prospects ticked up, but job and income prospects ticked down. Concerns about rising prices and, to a lesser degree, the Delta variant were the primary drivers of the slight decline,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

The proportion of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles and major appliances decreased.

Franco said the holiday shopping season should be a good one for retailers, and economic expansion likely will continue into early 2022. “However, both confidence and spending will likely face headwinds from rising prices and the potential resurgence of COVID-19 in the coming months.”

The member-driven think tank based in New York bases the Consumer Confidence Index on the results of monthly household surveys. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.

Less upbeat assessments of current business and labor conditions pulled down the present situation component of the index three points from October to 142.5.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the November index was based who described business conditions as “good” fell 1.3 points to 17 percent. The share of those who called conditions “bad” rose 3.3 points to 29 percent.

The proportion of those who said jobs are “plentiful” rose 3.2 points to 58 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” edged up a tenth of a point to 11.1 percent.

Less optimistic outlooks pulled down the expectations component of the index 1.4 points to 87.6.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose 1.4 points to 24.1 percent. The proportion of those who said they anticipate worsening conditions fell 1.2 points to 20.7 percent.

The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months fell 2.3 points to 22.1 percent. The proportion of those forecasting fewer jobs edged up two-tenths of a point to 18.9 percent.

While 17.9 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase — down a half point from October — another 12 percent said they anticipated lower incomes. That’s up eight-tenths of a point.