“Consumer confidence increased in September for a second consecutive month and is now at its highest level since the recession,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved, primarily the result of a more positive view of the labor market. Looking ahead, consumers are more upbeat about the short-term employment outlook, but somewhat neutral about business conditions and income prospects. Overall, consumers continue to rate current conditions favorably and foresee moderate economic expansion in the months ahead.”
Published on the last Tuesday of every month, this key bellwether of consumer confidence found that Americans’ impression of present-day situations increased from 125.3 to 128.5, while the expectations index rose from last month’s measure of 86.1 to 87.8.
Though consumers stating business conditions are “good” declined from 30.3% to 27.4%, the number describing the situation as “bad” also fell from 18.2% to 16.2%. In addition, 27.9% of people said jobs are “plentiful,” while the number claiming jobs are “hard to get” fell from 22.8% to 21.6%. At the same time, 15.1% of consumers are anticipating more jobs in the months ahead, up from 14.4% in August, while those expecting fewer jobs declined from 17.5% to 17 percent.
Consumers’ optimism regarding business conditions over the next six months did slip from 17.6% to 16.5%, but those expecting the situation to worsen in that time period also declined from 11.4% to 10.2%. On the income side of things, less consumers are expecting their wages to increase (17.1% versus 18.5%), while 10.3% anticipate a pay cut, down from 11 percent in August.