Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

Americans' Confidence Eases After Storms Hit Texas, Florida

U.S. consumer confidence eased in September from the second-highest level since late 2000 as attitudes deteriorated in states affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to figures Tuesday from the New York-based Conference Board.

Highlights of Consumer Confidence (September)

  • Confidence index cooled to 119.8 (est. 120) from a downwardly revised 120.4 in August that remained the second-highest since December 2000
  • Present conditions measure dropped to 146.1 from 148.4
  • Gauge of consumer expectations climbed to 102.2 from 101.7

Key Takeaways

The results corroborate other economic data showing tempered confidence in the aftermath of Harvey and Irma. Data from the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment eased in early September, while the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has declined for three straight weeks.

Still, the pickup in the Conference Board’s measure of expectations shows Americans remain upbeat about the economy, employment and their incomes. The share of respondents who expected more jobs would be available six months from now advanced to a five-month high, while expectations of rising income were the strongest since June. Still-lofty household confidence will probably help underpin spending in coming months.

Economist Views

Confidence slumped in Texas and Florida “as these two states were the most severely impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “Despite the slight downtick in confidence, consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable and their expectations for the short-term suggest the economy will continue expanding at its current pace.”

Other Details

  • 20.2 percent of consumers said they expect better business conditions in next six months, up from 19.8 percent
  • Share of households who expect incomes to rise in next six months increased to 20.5 percent in September from 19.9 percent
  • Share of those who said more jobs will be available in coming months rose to 19.5 percent from 16.8 percent
  • Buying plans were mixed, with a greater share anticipating the purchase of major appliances and smaller shares expecting to buy homes and new cars
  • A measure of confidence among Texans dropped to an 11-month low, while a gauge of sentiment in Florida declined to the lowest since June

— With assistance by Randy Woods, and Kristy Scheuble

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