Consumer Confidence Index Falls For the Fourth Month in a Row
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
September 24, 2002 -- The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which had fallen in the last three months, declined again in September. The Index now stands at 93.3 (1985=100), down from 94.5 in August. The Present Situation Index declined to 88.5 from 93.1, while the Expectations Index rose to 96.5 from 95.5. The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by NFO WorldGroup, a member of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). "Weak labor market conditions continue to erode confidence," says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "But while consumers are not as positive about current business conditions, they are more optimistic about the outlook than last month. Historically, this trend is prevalent during a recovery." Consumers' assessment of the present situation was mixed. Those rating business conditions as "good" increased from 16.7 percent to 18.2 percent. However, those rating conditions as "bad" also increased, from 21.8 percent to 23.3 percent. Consumers reporting jobs were plentiful declined to 15.9 percent, down from 17.4 percent. Those claiming jobs are hard to get climbed to 25.5 percent, up from 23.8 percent last month. Overall, consumers were more optimistic about the short-term outlook. Fewer respondents expect an improvement in business conditions in the next six months -- 21.5 percent in September, down from 22.2 percent in August. However, fewer consumers expect conditions to worsen -- 9.6 percent in September, down slightly from 10 percent in August. The employment outlook was more favorable in September. Those anticipating more jobs to become available in the next six months increased from 17.4 percent to 17.7 percent. As for income prospects, 20.3 percent of consumers anticipate an increase, down from 22.1 percent in August.