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 user 2013-06-23 at 9:07:48 am Views: 118
  • #2167

    Job Fears Sink Consumer Confidence for Second Month

    NEW YORK  – Consumer Confidence declined in September for the second consecutive month, a New York-based private research group said Tuesday.

    The Consumer Confidence Index fell 1.9 points to 96.8 from a revised reading of 98.7 in August, according to The Conference Board. Analysts had expected a reading of 99.5.

    ''The recent declines in the index were caused primarily by a deterioration in consumers' assessment of employment conditions,'' said Lynn Franco, director of the organization's Consumer Research Center. ''Soft labor market conditions have clearly taken a toll on consumer confidence. Still, expectations for the next six months are virtually unchanged from August.''

    Economists closely track consumer confidence because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity.

    The Present Situation Index, one component of the consumer confidence reading, fell to 95.5 from 100.7 in August. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers' outlook over the next six months, edged up to 97.6 compared with 97.3 last month.

    The Conference Board's indexes were derived from responses received through Sept. 20 to a survey mailed to 5,000 households in a consumer research panel. The figures released Tuesday include responses from at least 2,500 households. The figures for August were revised after all the surveys were tabulated.

    Consumers' assessment of overall present-day conditions was mixed. Those saying that business conditions are ''good'' edged up to 23.6 percent from 23 percent. Those claiming conditions are ''bad'' remained flat at 20.3 percent, compared to 20.2 percent last month. The job situation was less favorable than in August. Consumers saying jobs are ''plentiful'' declined to 16.8 percent form 18.4 percent. Those claiming jobs are ''hard to get'' rose to 28.3 percent from 26.0 percent in August.

    Consumers' outlook for the next six months is relatively unchanged. Those anticipating conditions to worsen in the next six months increased to 9.4 percent from 8.8 percent. But those expecting business conditions to improve increased to 21.4 percent from 20.2 percent last month.

    The employment outlook for the next six months was also mixed. Consumers expecting fewer jobs increased to 16.1 percent from 15.1 percent, while those anticipating more jobs to become available rose to 17.7 percent from 16.3 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to improve in the months ahead edged up to 20.0 percent from 19.7 percent last month.

    * Post was edited: 2004-09-29 10:52:00