Consumer Confidence Index Up Slightly, But Indicates Many Are Proceeding With Caution

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The Consumer Confidence Index report was revealed this morning, showing a welcome increase after three straight previous months of declines. The Index now stands at 113.8, up from 109.8 in September, The Conference Board reported.

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Consumer assessment of current business and labor market conditions rose to 147.4 from 144.3 last month. The Expectations Index, which represents consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions also improved, up to 91.3 from 86.7.

Lynn France, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, attributed part of these increases to waning concerns over the Delta variant. The report comes amid last week’s unemployment claims numbers, which also showed improvement. Delta variant concerns indeed may be waning, as the number of people leaving their positions and claiming unemployment insurance has decreased, and consumer confidence in the job market may be a vital piece to that.

“The proportion of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles and major appliances all increased in October — a sign that consumer spending will continue to support economic growth through the final months of 2021″ the Board added.

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Overall the index increased favorably, although there were some mixed consumer relations. 24.3% of consumers expect business conditions to improve in the next six months, an increase from 21.7%. On the other hand though, 21.1% expect business conditions to worsen, which is actually an increase from 17.6%.

The amount of consumers who said business conditions were “good” is down to 18.6% from 19.1% last month. Contrastingly, though, the amount of consumers who said business conditions are “bad” is slightly down to 24.9% from 25.3%.

Another mixed signal was in consumer assessments of the labor market. 55.6% of consumers said they felt jobs were plentiful, down from 56.5% — but the amount of consumers who felt jobs were “hard to get” decreased from 13% to 10.6%.

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Of those who are already employed, 18.7% expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, up from 16.9%. The amount of consumers who expect their incomes to decrease remained virtually unchanged.

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Last updated: October 26, 2021

About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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