NEW YORK-After making some headway in July, the consumer confidence index slipped in August to its lowest level since last November.
The index, as compiled by The Conference Board based on a survey of consumers conducted by Nielsen, finished this month at 60.6, down 4.8 points from the July reading. Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, attributed the drop to “a more pessimistic outlook” for business conditions in the near future.
Indeed, the expectations index, one of the two key components of the overall indicator, lost 7.9 points to 70.5. The present situation index was 45.8, up 0.1 point from last month.
Consumers’ deteriorating optimism over business conditions down the road was also reflected in the declining numbers of those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months, along with an increase in the percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to worsen. The percentages regarding jobs also betrayed a less sanguine outlook, with fewer consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead and more consumers predicting that there will be fewer jobs in the months ahead.
“Consumers were more apprehensive about business and employment prospects, but more optimistic about their financial prospects despite rising inflation expectations,” Franco said.
Regarding consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions, there was some improvement in the percentage of those who said current conditions are “good,” while there was no change in the number who rated current conditions as “bad.” The current jobs picture received mixed ratings from the consumers, with fewer saying that jobs are “plentiful” but fewer also saying jobs are “hard to get.”