Con­sumer con­fi­dence re­treated slightly in October

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - WEATHER - By Martin Crutsinger AP Eco­nomics Writer

WASHINGTON >> Amer­i­can con­sumers felt less con­fi­dent this month, but the small re­treat came after con­fi­dence had risen to a 20-month high in Septem­ber.

Con­sumer con­fi­dence slipped to 98.6 this month after rising to 103.5 in Septem­ber, the Con­fer­ence Board re­ported Tuesday. The Septem­ber read­ing was the high­est since con­fi­dence stood at 103.8 in Jan­uary 2015. The Septem­ber con­fi­dence num­ber was re­vised down from an ini­tial es­ti­mate of 104.1, which had been the high­est in nine years.

The lower October read­ing re­flected a drop in con­sumers’ as­sess­ment of cur­rent busi­ness con­di­tions and em­ploy­ment prospects.

Even with the small de­cline, con­sumer con­fi­dence was still at a level ex­pected to sup­port con­sumer spend­ing and eco­nomic growth in com­ing months.

The October de­cline re­flected de­creases in both con­sumers’ view about cur­rent con­di­tions and their fu­ture ex­pec­ta­tions.

The num­ber of con­sumers say­ing busi­ness con­di­tions at present were “good” de­creased mod­er­ately from 27.7 per­cent to 26.2 per­cent while those say­ing busi­ness con­di­tions were “bad” rose from 15.8 per­cent to 17.7 per­cent.

Their as­sess­ment of the la­bor mar­ket was also less pos­i­tive, with those be­liev­ing jobs were “plen­ti­ful” drop­ping from 27.6 per­cent to 24.3 per­cent al­though those who be­lieved jobs were “hard to get” de­clined slightly to 22.1 per­cent from 22.3 per­cent in Septem­ber.

Economists said the October de­cline puts the Con­fer­ence Board’s take on con­fi­dence more in line with other con­fi­dence read­ings, in­clud­ing the Univer­sity of Michi­gan sur­vey.

“We read the October data as sug­gest­ing that house­hold con­fi­dence has cor­rected after the out­sized in­crease in the pre­vi­ous month,” Ble­rina Uruci of Bar­clays said in a re­search note.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A “Help Wanted” sign hangs in a store win­dow in New York on Oct. 1.

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