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More Consumers Expect Fewer Jobs

Consumers are slightly less confident this month, according to the Conference Board's September Consumer Confidence Index released today. 

After notching a revised 81.8 reading for August, the index tapered off 2.6% to 79.7 for September. Analysts had expected a slight dip from last month's numbers, but their 80.0 estimate proved too optimistic. The index uses 1985 as its 100-point benchmark.

"Consumer Confidence decreased in September as concerns about the short-term outlook for both jobs and earnings resurfaced, while expectations for future business conditions were little changed," said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco in a statement today. "Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions, however, was more positive. While overall economic conditions appear to have moderately improved, consumers are uncertain that the momentum can be sustained in the months ahead."

Comprised of responses from a random sample of consumers, this latest report's group was more confident than last month's on every current-condition question. Those claiming business conditions are "good" increased to 19.5% from 18.7%. Those saying jobs are "hard to get" decreased to a five-year low of 32.7% from 33.3%.

Future labor market worries were the main drag, with those anticipating more jobs in the next six months dropping from 17.5% to 16.9%, while those expecting fewer jobs increased from 17.2% to 19.7%. 17.5% of respondents also predicted declining incomes in the future, up from 15.4% in last month's survey. 

The Conference Board is a New York-based private research group. Its reading for June, 82.1, was the highest in 5.5 years. A reading of 90 is considered typical of a healthy economy.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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