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Consumer Confidence Index Shows Pessimism Increase

New York — The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined sharply in August to 99.6, despite a moderate increase in July to 107.

“Consumer confidence lost significant ground in August and is now at its lowest level this year,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Less favorable business conditions coupled with a less favorable job scenario have resulted in the largest one month decline in confidence since Hurricane Katrina last year. Looking ahead, the glass remains half empty as consumers are growing increasingly more pessimistic about the short-term outlook.”

According to the index, an increased number of consumers said that overall economic conditions are “bad” and a higher percentage of respondents claimed that jobs are “hard to get.” Survey results also showed that an increased number of respondents believe that fewer jobs will be available in the next six months, with the numbers going from 16.5 percent to 18.3 percent. Only 17.7 percent of respondents anticipated an income increase in the next six months, down from 18.3 percent in July’s survey.

The survey is based on a sample of 5,000 U.S. households and it is conducted for The Conference Board by research company, TNS. The August results reflect consumer responses recorded through Aug. 22.

It is important to note that while the general rate of pessimistic outlook on the part of consumers did technically increase in all categories, the overall number of respondents with such outlooks are still in the minority, representing less than half of the respondents in each category.