The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index gained in September for the second straight month.
The Index now stands at 108, eight points into positive territory and up from 103.6 in August. The Present Situation Index, based on consumer assessment of current business and labor market conditions, rose to 149.6 from 145.3 last month. The Expectations Index, based on consumer short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, advanced to 80.3 from 75.8.
In the Present Situation Index 20.8% of consumers said business conditions were good, up from 19% a month earlier, the Conference Board reported. At the same time, 21.2% of consumers said business conditions were bad in September, but that shrank from 22.6% in August. When it comes to the labor market, 49.4% of consumers said jobs were plentiful, up from 47.6% in the prior month. while 11.4% of consumers said jobs were hard to get, down slightly from 11.6% in August.
As for the Expectations Index, looking ahead through the next six months, 19.3% of consumers in September expected business conditions to improve, up from 17.3% in August while 21% expected business conditions to worsen, down from 21.7% in the month before. In terms of labor, 17.5% of consumers expected more jobs to be available, up from 17.1% in the month earlier while 17.7% anticipate fewer jobs, down from 19.6% in August, the Conference Board stated.
As for short-term financial prospects, 18.4% of consumers anticipated that their incomes would increase, up from 16.6% in August while 14.3% anticipated that their incomes would decrease, up from 13.9%.
“Consumer confidence improved in September for the second consecutive month supported in particular by jobs, wages, and declining gas prices,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index rose again, after declining from April through July. The Expectations Index also improved from summer lows, but recession risks nonetheless persist. Concerns about inflation dissipated further in September, prompted largely by declining prices at the gas pump, and are now at their lowest level since the start of the year. Meanwhile, purchasing intentions were mixed, with intentions to buy automobiles and big-ticket appliances up, while home purchasing intentions fell. The latter no doubt reflects rising mortgage rates and a cooling housing market. Looking ahead, the improvement in confidence may bode well for consumer spending in the final months of 2022, but inflation and interest-rate hikes remain strong headwinds to growth in the short term.”