Consumer Confidence Fell Further in September

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined again in September, following decreases in both July and August. The Index now stands at 109.3 (1985=100), down from 115.2 in August. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions—fell to 143.4 from 148.9 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers' short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—fell to 86.6 from 92.8.

"Consumer confidence dropped in September as the spread of the Delta variant continued to dampen optimism," said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "Concerns about the state of the economy and short-term growth prospects deepened, while spending intentions for homes, autos, and major appliances all retreated again. Short-term inflation concerns eased somewhat, but remain elevated. Consumer confidence is still high by historical levels—enough to support further growth in the near-term—but the Index has now fallen 19.6 points from the recent peak of 128.9 reached in June. These back-to-back declines suggest consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending going forward."

Present Situation

Consumers' appraisal of current business conditions declined in September.

  • 19.3% of consumers said business conditions are "good," down from 20.2%.

  • 25.4% of consumers said business conditions are "bad," up from 24.1%.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market was mixed.

  • 55.9% of consumers said jobs are "plentiful," up from 55.6%.

  • Conversely, 13.4% of consumers said jobs are "hard to get," up from 11.2%.

Expectations Six Month Hence

Consumers' optimism about the short-term business conditions outlookeroded further in September.

  • 21.5% of consumers expect business conditions will improve, down from 23.4%.

  • 17.6% expect business conditions to worsen, up from 17.4%.

Consumers were also less optimistic about the short-term labor market outlook.

  • 21.5% of consumers expect more jobs to be available in the months ahead, down from 23.1%.

  • 20.3% anticipate fewer jobs, up from 18.0%.

Consumers were slightly less positive about their short-term financial prospects.

  • 17.3% of consumers expect their incomes to increase, down from 18.2%.

  • 11.5% expect their incomes will decrease, up from 9.9%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on an online sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Toluna, a technology company that delivers real-time consumer insights and market research through its innovative technology, expertise, and panel of over 36 million consumers. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was September 22.