US Consumer Confidence Drops in October

Consumer Confidence

US consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a four-month low as economic expectations dimmed, a warning sign that the consumer spending that's been propping up the expansion may face challenges.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index slipped to 125.9 this month from a September reading of 126.3. The index was previously reported at 125.1 in September. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected the index to rise to 128.0 this month. The Present Situation Index increased from 170.6 in September to 172.3 in October, while the Expectations Index fell from 96.8 last month to 94.9 in October.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement that consumers feel good about present conditions, but future expectations lowered slightly "as consumers expressed some concerns about business conditions and job prospects".

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Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG of NY, said that confidence is down only slightly from the July high for this year of 135.8 and remains at levels that signal consumers will keep spending. Meanwhile, retail sales declined in September for the first time since February, raising concerns that consumer spending - which has been a key support for the USA economy this year - could be softening. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was October 18. Consumers' assessment of the job market was mixed. The share of those who called jobs "hard to get" also rose - eight-tenths of a point to 11.8 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also less upbeat. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm. Nielsen's Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content - video, audio and text - is consumed.

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