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Economy in Brief

Consumer Confidence Down Sharply
by Tom Moeller September 27, 2005

The Conference Board's September index of Consumer Confidence fell 17.9% m/m to 86.6 following a 1.8% gain during August that was little revised.

Consensus expectations had been for a shallower decline to 94.7. Last week, the University of Michigan reported that its measure of consumer sentiment fell 13.7% m/m (-18.4% y/y).

During the last twenty years there has been a 52% correlation between the level of consumer confidence and the y/y change in real consumer spending. The correlation rose to 66% during the last ten years.

The index of consumers' expectations fell 23.2% m/m (-26.6% y/y) while the assessment of the present situation dropped 12.0% (+14.3% y/y). Jobs were viewed as hard to get by 25.4% of survey participants, a rise to the highest level this year though the 25.2% of participants who thought that business conditions were good was the lowest since February.

The Conference Board’s survey isconducted by a mailed questionnaire to 5,000 households and about 3,500 typically respond.

Conference Board Sept August Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Consumer Confidence 86.6 105.5 -10.4% 96.1 79.8 96.6
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