Consumer Confidence Slides Hard In August

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NEW YORK, Aug. 30 (UPI) — Consumer confidence in the United States hit the lowest point in more than two years in August, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

“Consumer confidence deteriorated sharply in August, as consumers grew significantly more pessimistic about the short-term outlook,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

“A contributing factor may have been the debt ceiling discussions since the decline in confidence was well under way before the S&P downgrade. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, posted only a modest decline as employment conditions continue to suppress confidence.”

After a slight improvement in July, the index that measures confidence levels “plummeted in August,” the Conference Board said. The index fell from 59.2 in July to 44.5.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Index, which includes a survey of 5,000 households, uses 1985 as a base year with an assigned value of 100.

In August, the number of respondents indicating economic conditions were “good” rose slightly from 13.5 percent to 13.7 percent. The percentage of respondents indicating conditions were “bad” rose from 38.7 percent to 40.6 percent.

The percentage of respondents indicating jobs were “plentiful” fell from 5.1 percent to 4.7 percent, while the number indicating jobs were “hard to get” rose from 44.8 percent to 49.1 percent.

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