U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Drops For Second Straight Month

Reflecting a significant deterioration in consumers’ assessment of current conditions, the Conference Board released a report on Tuesday showing U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly declined for the second straight month in August.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slumped to 84.8 in August after tumbling to a downwardly revised 91.7 in July.

The continued decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the index to inch up to 93.0 from the 92.6 originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected decrease by the headline index came as the present situation index plunged to 84.2 in August from 95.9 in July.

The percentage of consumers claiming current business conditions are “good” dipped to 16.4 percent from 17.5 percent, while those claiming conditions are “bad” jumped to 43.6 percent from 38.9 percent.

Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was also less favorable, with consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” edging down to 21.5 percent from 22.3 percent and those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rising to 25.2 percent from 20.1 percent.

The Conference Board said its expectations index also fell to 85.2 in August from 88.9 in July, as consumers were more pessimistic about the short-term outlook.

Consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months slipped to 29.9 percent from 31.6 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen inched up to 20.5 percent from 20.2 percent.

The outlook for the labor market was also less positive, as consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged down to 29.1 percent from 29.6 percent and those anticipating fewer jobs ticked up to 21.9 percent from 21.3 percent.

The report also said the percentage of consumers expecting an increase in income dropped to 12.7 percent from 14.8 percent, while those expecting a decrease rose to 16.6 percent from 15.8 percent.

“Consumer spending has rebounded in recent months but increasing concerns amongst consumers about the economic outlook and their financial well-being will likely cause spending to cool in the months ahead,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

On Friday, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised reading on consumer sentiment in the month of August.

The consumer sentiment index for August is currently expected to be unrevised from the preliminary reading of 72.8, which was up slightly from 72.5 in July.

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