Wednesday, August 31, 2011

US Consumer Confidence Measures

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final Consumer Sentiment Index dropped in August to the lowest level since November 2008. It fell to 55.7 this month from 63.7 in July. The index of current conditions, which reflects Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items like cars, decreased to 68.7 from 75.8 the prior month. The index of consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, dropped to 47.4, the lowest since May 1980, from 56.0.

US consumer confidence slumped in August to its lowest level since April 2009, according to the latest monthly Conference Board report. Its closely watched consumer index sank to 44.5 this month, from a downwardly revised 59.2 in July. The survey’s labor market indicators were especially weak. The percentage of respondents agreeing that “jobs are hard to get” rose from 44.8% in July to 49.1% in August, the highest reading since November 2009. The percentage who expects that there will be fewer jobs available in six months jumped from 22.2% to 31.5%, the highest since April 2009. These latest figures suggest that the US labor market is deteriorating again.

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