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United States Consumer Confidence October 2019

United States: Consumer confidence edges lower in October

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index inched down to 125.9 in October from a revised 126.3 in September (previously reported: 125.1), marking the fourth consecutive drop. The index undershot market expectations of 128.8 but nevertheless remained comfortably above the 100-threshold that separates consumer optimism from pessimism.

The marginal downtick in October was largely the result of households’ less optimistic take on the short-term outlook, with the number of respondents expecting business conditions to improve decreasing. On the other hand, households were somewhat more upbeat about current business conditions, however, their view on the labor market was mixed. The labor differential—the difference between the percentage of respondents who state that jobs are plentiful and those who say that jobs are hard to get—rose from 33.5 in September to 35.1 in October, suggesting the labor market remains very tight, however more participants expect fewer jobs in the months ahead. On the other hand, consumers were more upbeat about their short-term income prospects.

Commenting on this month’s reading, Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, noted:

“Expectations weakened slightly as consumers expressed some concerns about business conditions and job prospects. However, confidence levels remain high and there are no indications that consumers will curtail their holiday spending.”

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