The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased in September, after slipping in August, according to the Consumer Confidence Survey released Tuesday (Sept. 29).
The Index now stands at 101.8 (1985=100), up from 86.3 in August. The Present Situation Index, a measure of consumers’ assessment of the nation’s business and labor market conditions, increased to 98.5 from 85.8. The Expectations Index, Americans’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, grew to 104 this month, from 86.6 in August.
“Consumer confidence increased sharply in September, after back-to-back monthly declines, but remains below pre-pandemic levels,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement. “A more favorable view of current business and labor market conditions, coupled with renewed optimism about the short-term outlook, helped spur this month’s rebound in confidence.
Consumers also expressed greater optimism about their short-term financial prospects, which may help keep spending from slowing further in the months ahead, Franco added.
The percentage of consumers who said business conditions are “good” increased to 18.3 percent from 16 percent, while those who said business conditions are “bad” fell to 37.4 percent from 43.3 percent.
Respondents’ assessment of the labor market also saw improvements.
The percentage of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” increased to nearly 23 percent from 21.4 while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” dropped to 20 percent from 23.6 percent.
Optimism was also evident in the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to improve through March increased to 37 percent from 29.8 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from to 15.8 percent from 20.7 percent.
Consumers were also more positive about the labor market’s outlook. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 33 percent from 30 percent, while the share of those who expect fewer jobs decreased to 15.6 percent from 21 percent. On short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase improved to 17.5 from 13 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease slipped to 12.6 percent from 16 percent.
The monthly survey is conducted for the Conference Board by Nielsen Holdings PLC, a global provider of information and analytics on consumer behavior.
While Americans aren’t known for being the world’s most avid savers, PYMNTS reported faced with the outbreak’s tremendous economic uncertainty, consumers quickly learned to be better savers. The U.S. personal savings rate hit a historic 33 percent of disposable income in April as Americans hunkered down amid COVID-19.