U.S. Consumer Confidence Rose in September to Five-Month High as Inflation Concerns Eased
By Xavier Fontdegloria
U.S. consumer confidence improved in September for a second
consecutive month as Americans' views of the labor market remained
positive and concerns over inflation moderated amid further
declines in gasoline prices.
Private-research group The Conference Board said Tuesday that
its consumer confidence index increased to 108.0 in September from
a revised 103.6 in August, the highest reading since April.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the index
to increase to 104.5.
Jobs, wages and declining gas prices supported the rise in
consumer confidence, said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic
indicators at The Conference Board.
"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," she said.
The present situation index, which gauges consumers' assessment
of current business and labor market conditions, increased to 149.6
from 145.3. The expectations index, which gauges short-term outlook
for income, business and labor-market conditions, rose to 80.3 from
75.8, the data showed.
Consumer confidence can hint at household spending, which is a
major growth driver for the U.S. economy. Subdued confidence levels
and high inflation have turned consumers more cautious in the last
few months, but data showed spending hasn't been hit significantly
even as they face increasing headwinds.
The Conference Board's index aligns with real-time consumer
spending data which has remained pretty resilient as households are
still benefiting from a strong labor market and elevated savings,
said Matt Orton, chief market strategist at Carillon Tower
Consumers' views on the labor market improved in September, with
49.4% of those surveyed saying jobs are plentiful, up from 47.6% in
August. Americans also were more optimistic about the short-term
outlook for the labor market, The Conference's Board data
Purchasing intentions for big-ticket items were mixed, with
intentions to buy automobiles and appliances up, while
home-purchasing intentions fell amid rising mortgage rates and a
cooling housing market, Ms. Franco said.
"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," she said.
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 27, 2022 10:42 ET (14:42 GMT)
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