U.S. Consumer Confidence Falls to Lowest in More Than a Year

  • Conference Board's gauge down to 90.4 on slump in expectations
  • Americans became less optimistic about labor market outlook

Consumer confidence unexpectedly declined in November to the lowest level in more than a year as Americans grew less enthusiastic about the labor-market outlook.

The Conference Board’s index slumped to 90.4, the lowest since September 2014, from a revised October reading of 99.1, the New York-based private research group said Tuesday. The November gauge was weaker than the lowest forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The cutoff date of the Conference Board’s survey was Nov. 12.

The share of Americans who see greater job availability in the next six months declined to the lowest level since October 2011, and more expect their incomes to decline. While consumers were less upbeat about the labor market, the report showed buying plans held up and suggested steady spending as the holiday-shopping season begins.

“Heading into 2016, consumers are cautious about the labor market and expect little change in business conditions,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

The median forecast called for the gauge to rise to 99.5 in November, according to the Bloomberg survey of 70 economists. Estimates ranged from 96 to 103.5. In January, the index reached an almost eight-year high of 103.8.

The drop was broad-based, with confidence declining among all age group, particularly among those younger than 35, and most income brackets. Sentiment slumped for Americans earning less than $15,000 a year.

Michigan Gauge

The group’s report stands in contrast to the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading for the month. That gauge climbed to a four-month high.

The Conference Board’s measure of consumer expectations for the next six months dropped 78.6 from 88.7 in October. Some 11.6 percent anticipated more jobs will be available, down from 14.4 percent a month earlier.

What’s more, 11.8 percent of respondents projected their incomes will decrease in the next six months, the highest since September 2014.

The Conference Board’s index of present conditions fell to 108.1 this month from 114.6 in October. The share of Americans who said jobs were hard to find rose to 26.2 percent from 24.6 percent. Fewer said jobs were plentiful.

Buying plans were relatively upbeat, with more saying they expected to purchase automobiles and appliances, the Conference Board’s data showed.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE