The Conference Board is out with its newest read on consumer confidence. The reading from August is a huge disappointment at 60.6, compared to a Bloomberg consensus target of about 65.8 and to July’s reading of 65.4. The Expectations Index fell sharply down to 70.5 from 78.4, while the Present Situation Index was virtually unchanged, at 45.8 versus 45.9 a month ago.
Today we were expected to hit a three-month high.Instead we are at a nine-month low.
Those claiming business conditions are “good” rose to 15.2% from 13.7% and those saying business conditions are “bad” was unchanged at 34.4%. Those claiming jobs were plentiful fell to 7.0% from 7.8%, while those saying jobs were scarce or “hard to get” nudged down slightly to 40.7% from 41.0%.
The excerpt from economist Lynn Franco does not exactly give a very warm fuzzy feeling either:
A more pessimistic outlook was the primary reason for this month’s decline in confidence. 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.
JON C. OGG