Consumer confidence slips in September amid Delta variant, less optimism on jobs

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September 28, 2021 — Consumer confidence fell this month amid concerns over the Covid-19 Delta variant, according to The Conference Board, whose Consumer Confidence Index fell to a reading of 109.3 this month from 115.2 in August. Consumers were also less optimistic on jobs.

“Concerns about the state of the economy and short-term growth prospects deepened, while spending intentions for homes, autos and major appliances all retreated again,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Short-term inflation concerns eased somewhat but remain elevated.”

Consumer confidence remains high by historical levels, Franco noted — high enough to support continued growth. However, the index’s decline of 19.6 points from its recent peak of 128.9 in June signals that consumers have become more cautious and may cut spending going forward.

When it comes to jobs, 55.9% of consumers said jobs are “plentiful” this month, edging up from the 55.6% in August. On the other hand, a higher percentage of consumers said jobs are “hard to get,” rising to 13.4% this month from 11.2% in August.

Consumers were less optimistic about the labor market in the months ahead as well. The percentage of consumers expecting more jobs to be available in the months ahead fell to 21.5% in this month’s index survey from 23.1% in August. In addition, the percentage of consumers expecting fewer jobs ahead rose to 20.3% this month from 18.0% in August.

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