Consumer Confidence Remains Strong Despite October Dip

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hand out candy to children as they trick-or-treat during a Halloween at the White House event at the South Portico of the White House October 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. consumer confidence dipped slightly in October as perceptions of the current economic situation improved but expectations for the future deteriorated.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index hit 125.9 in October, an improvement from the earlier reported read of 125.1 for September. But September’s figure was revised up to 126.3, so October counts as the third consecutive monthly decline.

Despite the decline, consumer confidence remains high, according to Conference Board economist Lynn Franco.

“There are no indications that consumers will curtail their holiday spending,” Franco said.

Economists had forecast an improvement to 128.8.

The October confidence survey was a hodge-podge of mixed results. Those saying jobs are hard to get rose to 11.8 percent, up eight-tenths of a percentage point. But those saying jobs are plentiful rose by 2.4 percentage points to 46.9. The outlook for jobs, however, was notably dimmer, with 16.9 percent saying they see more job openings six-months from now and 17.8 percent saying they see fewer.

Expectations for future income improved. A solid 21.1 percent of those surveyed expect income gains, up by 1.4 percentage points from Septe3mber, while just 6.5 percent expect their income to fall.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was also sunnier. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 37.4 percent to 39.2 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 12.2 percent to 11.2 percent.

Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S. and confidence is closely watched this time of year for indications of holiday spending.

The recent numbers point to a healthy level of confidence and should stave off fears that a recession could occur in the near future. Consumers seem unshaken by the impeachment drama now obsessing Washington, D.C.

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