The Conference Board’s US Consumer Confidence Index Retreats in August

The Conference Board, a non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank founded in 1916, released on Tuesday (8-29-23) its latest Consumer Confidence Survey®.

  • The Consumer Confidence Index® declined in August to a reading of 106.1 (1985=100), down from a revised (lower) July reading of 114.0.
  • The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—dropped to a reading of 144.8 (1985=100) from July’s reading of 153.0.
  • The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—fell to a reading of 80.2 (1985=100) in August, reversing July’s sharp uptick to 88.0. The Conference Board notes that the Expectation Index is just a hair above 80—the level that historically signals a recession within the next year. Although consumer fears of an impending recession continued to recede, the Conference Board still anticipates a recession is likely prior to yearend.

Adding additional background and her analysis to the report, Conference Board Chief Economist Dana Peterson said:

“Consumer confidence fell in August 2023, erasing back-to-back increases in June and July. August’s disappointing headline number reflected dips in both the current conditions and expectations indexes. Write-in responses showed that consumers were once again preoccupied with rising prices in general, and for groceries and gasoline in particular. The pullback in consumer confidence was evident across all age groups—and most notable among consumers with household incomes of $100,000 or more, as well as those earning less than $50,000. Confidence held relatively steady for consumers with incomes between $50,000 and $99,999.”

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