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The Conference Board’s U.S. consumer confidence index fell sharply in October after edging down slightly in September. The index now stands at a reading of 71.2 (1985=100), down from 80.2 in September.
“Consumer confidence deteriorated considerably as the federal government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis took a particularly large toll on consumers’ expectations,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Similar declines in confidence were experienced during the payroll tax hike earlier this year, the fiscal cliff discussions in late 2012, and the government shutdown in 1995/1996. However, given the temporary nature of the current resolution, confidence is likely to remain volatile for the next several months.”
The number of consumers anticipating more jobs in the months ahead fell to 15.3 percent in October from 16.1 percent in September, according to the index’s survey. Those expecting fewer jobs increased to 22.7 percent from 19.1 percent.
The percentage of people saying business conditions are “good” decreased to 19.0 percent in October from 20.7 percent in September. Consumers’ expectations regarding the short-term outlook decreased sharply in October; the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell to 16.0 percent in October from 20.6 percent in September.