Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Consumer Confidence Index down in August

NEW YORK – Aug. 28, 2012 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which improved in July, declined in August. The Index now stands at 60.6, compared to July’s 65.4. The Expectations Index that measures attitudes about the future – what might happen over the next six months – decreased to 70.5 from 78.4. However, the Present Situation Index that measures attitudes currently remained virtually unchanged at 45.8, versus 45.9 a month ago.

“The Consumer Confidence Index is now at its lowest level since late last year,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers were more apprehensive about business and employment prospects, but more optimistic about their financial prospects despite rising inflation expectations. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was virtually unchanged, suggesting no significant pickup or deterioration in the pace of growth.”

Consumers claiming business conditions are presently “good” improved to 15.2 percent from 13.7 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” was unchanged at 34.4 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market varied. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” declined to 7 percent from 7.8 percent, but those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 40.7 percent from 41 percent.

In looking forward to the next six months, the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve declined to 16.5 percent from 19 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen increased to 17.7 percent from 15.1 percent. Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 15.4 percent from 17.6 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose to 23.4 percent from 20.6 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes, however, improved to 15.7 percent from 14.2 percent.

The Conference Board by Nielsen conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey based on a probability-design random sample. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Aug. 16.

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