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Consumer Confidence: Surprise Decline Ahead of US Election

October 25, 2016
Bottom Line: After rising in August and September, consumer confidence pulled back sharply in October. As a contentious election season comes closer to voting day, it appears that steady job gains have not been enough to offset hits to confidence from modestly higher stock market volatility and gasoline prices. The expectations component, which had been contracting for a year but rebounded in August and September, fell sharply. Respondents reporting that jobs are plentiful fell after nearly reaching 2007 highs. Those reporting jobs are hard to get held steady.

Consumer Confidence FELL by 4.9 points in October to 98.6, compared with market expectations for a decline to 101.5. The index is now 0.5% BELOW its year ago level.

Present Situation Index FELL by 7.3 points to 120.6. The index is 5.2% ABOVE its year ago level.

The Expectations Index FELL by 3.3 points to 83.9. The index is 5.4% BELOW its year ago level.

The labor differential, the percentage of respondents who said jobs are “hard to get” from the percentage who said jobs are “plentiful” , moved higher by 3.1 points to 2.2.