August Consumer Confidence Index rises marginally

Consumer confidence continues to plod along in the mid-forties.

Data released Tuesday morning by the New York City-based Conference Board showed the Consumer Confidence Index for the month of September at 45.4, up slightly from an upwardly revised 45.2 reading in August. 

A year ago, the index was at 48.6. It rose to above 70 in February of this year, but has since slipped back into the forties for two consecutive months.

“The pessimism that shrouded consumers last month has spilled over into September. Consumer expectations, which had plummeted in August, posted a marginal gain," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "However, consumers expressed greater concern about their expected earnings, a sign that does not bode well for spending. In addition, consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined for the fifth consecutive month, a sign that the economic environment remains weak.”

Consumers’ short-term outlook, which had deteriorated sharply last month, improved slightly in September. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 11.3% from 11.8%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined to 22.6% from 24.6%.