Consumer Confidence Index Declines in September

September 28, 2004

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index declined again in September, the second consecutive monthly dip. The Index now stands at 96.8 (1985=100), down from 98.7 last month. The Present Situation Index fell to 95.5 from 100.7 in August. The Expectations Index was virtually unchanged at 97.6, compared with 97.3 last month.

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 TNS NFO. TNS NFO is one of the TNS group of companies (LSE: TNN). The cutoff date for September’s preliminary results was September 20th.

Jobs Remain Crucial Issue

Consumers’ assessment of overall present-day conditions was mixed. Those saying business conditions are “good” edged up to 23.6 percent from 23.0 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 from 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.

Source: September 2004 Consumer Confidence Index, The Conference Board.

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