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Economy in Brief

Consumer Confidence Rose Further in September
by Tom Moeller September 30, 2008

For September, the Conference Board reported that its index of consumer confidence rose 2.2% to 59.8. That followed an upwardly revised 12.7% increase during August. The latest rise contrasted with Consensus expectations for a m/m decline to a reading of 55.0. The increase clearly does not reflect the recent turbulence in the financial markets.

The rise was fueled by an 11.8% m/m increase to 60.5 in the expectations component of the index. It came on the heels of a 26.7% jump during August. The latest index level was its highest since January.

The percentage of respondents expecting business conditions to worsen in six months fell while the percentage expecting improvement rose to its highest level (13.5%) this year. Fewer jobs were seen by the lowest percentage since January but a reduced 28.2% of respondents planned to buy a major appliance within six months.

In contrast, the present conditions index again fell sharply to the lowest level since late 2003.

A slightly improved, but still negligible, 12.5% of respondents perceived that business conditions were good. That was near the lowest since early-2003. Jobs as plentiful were seen by a new low, since 2003, of 12.2% while 32.8% felt that jobs were hard to get. That was the highest since 2003.

Expectations for the inflation rate in twelve months fell again, last month to 6.2%, the lowest level since March.

Conference Board  (SA, 1985=100) September August Y/Y % 2007 2006 2005
Consumer Confidence Index 59.8 58.5 -39.9 103.4 105.9 100.3
  Present Situation 58.8 65.0 -51.5 128.8 130.2 116.1
  Expectations 60.5 54.1 -40.8 86.4 89.7 89.7
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