US Consumer Confidence Index well above expectations in September
US Consumer Confidence Index surprisingly increased in September for the second consecutive month and now stands at 108.0 (1985=100), up from 103.6 in August.
The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—rose to 149.6 from 145.3 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—increased to 80.3 from 75.8.
“Consumer confidence improved in September for the second consecutive month supported in particular by jobs, wages, and declining gas prices,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “
The Present Situation Index rose again, after declining from April through July. The Expectations Index also improved from summer lows, but recession risks nonetheless persist.
Concerns about inflation dissipated further in September—prompted largely by declining prices at the gas pump—and are now at their lowest level since the start of the year.”
Meanwhile, purchasing intentions were mixed, with intentions to buy automobiles and big-ticket appliances up, while home purchasing intentions fell.
The latter no doubt reflects rising mortgage rates and a cooling housing market. Looking ahead, the improvement in confidence may bode well for consumer spending in the final months of 2022, but inflation and interest-rate hikes remain strong headwinds to growth in the short term.