August Consumer Confidence Down – But Not by Much
BOSTON – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined marginally in August, following July’s rebound. The Index now stands at 135.1, down from 135.8 in July.
The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 170.9 to 177.2. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions six months in the future – declined from 112.4 last month to 107.0 this month.
“Consumer confidence was relatively unchanged in August following July’s increase,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved further, and the Present Situation Index is now at its highest level in nearly 19 years.”
Franco says future expectations cooled moderately, “but overall remain strong. While other parts of the economy may show some weakening, consumers have remained confident and willing to spend. However, if the recent escalation in trade and tariff tensions persists, it could potentially dampen consumers’ optimism regarding the short-term economic outlook.”
Consumers’ assessment of current-day conditions improved in August. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 39.9% to 42.0%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 11.2% to 9.8%.
Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was also more favorable. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 45.6% to 51.2%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 12.5% to 11.8%.
Consumers were moderately less optimistic about the short-term outlook in August. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to be better six months from now decreased from 24.0% to 21.9%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 8.4% to 10.0%.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also slightly less positive. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased marginally from 19.9% to 19.7%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 11.1% to 13.6%.
Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement decreased from 24.9% to 23.8%; however, the proportion expecting a decrease declined too, from 6.6% to 5.8%.
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