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  • Larry Thomas

Consumer Confidence Index holds steady in September

After plunging 14 points in August, consumer confidence remained steady in September, The Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The research group said its Consumer Confidence Index was 45.4 (1985=100), up slightly from a revised August figure of 45.2. The August figure was the index's lowest reading since 2009.

"The pessimism that shrouded consumers last month has spilled over into September," said Lynn Franco, director of the Board's Consumer Research Center. "Consumer expectations, which had plunged in August, posted a marginal gain. However, consumers expressed greater concern about their expected earnings, a sign that does not bode well for spending."

According to the latest survey, consumers' assessment of current conditions weakened further in September. Those describing business conditions as "good" dropped to 11.7% from 14.1%, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" remained essentially unchanged at 40.4.%

In addition, those saying jobs are "hard to get" increased to 50% from 48.5% in August, while those describing jobs as "plentiful" increased to 5.5% from 4.8%.

Consumers' short-term outlook, which had deteriorated sharply in August, improved slightly in September, according to the survey. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months dropped to 11.3% from 11.8%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen also dropped to 22.6% from 24.6% in August.

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