The New York-based Conference Board earlier this morning reported that its Consumer Confidence Index--which had ticked up slightly in August--eased back somewhat in September.
Specifically, the survey registered a still-formidable reading of 79.7 for this month, off incrementally from the upwardly revised 81.8 rate of confidence in August. Initially, the August reading had been estimated at 81.5. Expectations had been in line with the actual result for this month.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey ''based on a probability-designed random sample, is conducted for the Conference Board by Nielson, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.''
According to the Conference Board, ''Consumer Confidence decreased in September as concerns about the short-term outlook for both jobs and earnings resurfaced, while expectations for future business conditions were little changed.'' The Board went on to suggest that ''while overall economic conditions appear to have moderately improved, consumers are uncertain that the momentum can be sustained in the months ahead.''
Meanwhile, consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions firmed up somewhat, increasing from 18.7% to 19.5%, while those claiming business conditions were bad fell back a little. Encouragingly, those suggesting that jobs were plentiful, albeit still notably in the minority, edged up nominally from August.
Finally, consumers' expectations, which had increased in August, eased back somewhat this month, while the share of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months, improved a bit.
Taken as a whole, this was a reasonable, albeit not an especially welcoming, report. More important, it does not alter our view that the current business upturn is sustainable, nor should it unduly influence the Federal Reserve as it contemplates a possible monetary tapering adjustment over the next few months--or earlier.
At the time of this article's writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.