Consumer Confidence Index falls three points

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which has declined significantly over the past two months, fell again in November, The Conference Board reported Tuesday. The Index now stands at 82.2 (1985=100), down from 85.3 in October. The Present Situation Index fell from 107.2 to 93.5. The Expectations Index, however, increased from 70.7 to 74.6.

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 NFO WorldGroup, a member of The Interpublic Group of Companies.

“Rising unemployment and continuing layoff announcements are dampening confidence,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “A turnaround in confidence levels is not likely before year’s end, nor are retailers likely to enjoy a blockbuster holiday season.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current economic conditions is more pessimistic than last month, according to the Index. Consumers rating current business conditions as “bad” rose from 20.7% to 21.4%. Those rating conditions as “good” declined from 18.6% to 16.4%. Consumers claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 20.6% to 23%. Those reporting jobs are “plentiful” fell from 20.9% to 17%.

Consumers are slightly more optimistic about economic prospects six months from now, according to the Index. Those anticipating conditions to worsen declined from 20.3% to 17.3%. But, consumers expecting an improvement in business conditions decreased from 17.6% to 16.8%.

The employment outlook is also moderately more positive. Currently, 14.1% of consumers expect more jobs to become available, up from 13.9% last month. Those expecting fewer jobs to open up in the next six months decreased from 29% to 26.6%. About 20.3% of consumers expect their incomes to rise, up from 18% in October.