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The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in September, slightly increased in October to 50.2 (1985=100), up from September’s reading of 48.6, the Conference Board recently reported. The Present Situation Index increased to 23.9 in October from 23.3 in September, and the Expectations Index improved to 67.8 from 65.5 the previous month, according to the report.
“Consumer confidence, while slightly improved from September levels, is still hovering at historically low levels,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy is relatively unchanged, primarily because labor market conditions have yet to significantly improve. And, despite the uptick in Expectations, consumers continue to be quite concerned about the short-term outlook. Both present and future indicators point toward more of the same in the coming months.”
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was somewhat mixed in October. Those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased to 41.9 percent in October compared with 46 percent in September, while those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 8.5 percent in October compared with 8.2 percent in September. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was less favorable in October, with those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increasing to 46.1 percent from 45.8 percent and those stating jobs are “plentiful” decreasing to 3.5 percent compared with 3.8 percent in September.