Consumer Confidence Fell in August to Lowest Level since February

Friday, September 10th, 2021

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined in August, following a decrease in July (a downward revision). The Index now stands at 113.8 (1985=100), down from 125.1 in July. ThePresent Situation Index—based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions—fell to 147.3 from 157.2 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers' short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—fell to 91.4 from 103.8.

"Consumer confidence retreated in August to its lowest level since February 2021(95.2)," said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "Concerns about the Delta variant—and, to a lesser degree, rising gas and food prices—resulted in a less favorable view of current economic conditions and short-term growth prospects. Spending intentions for homes, autos, and major appliances all cooled somewhat; however, the percentage of consumers intending to take a vacation in the next six months continued to climb. While the resurgence of COVID-19 and inflation concerns have dampened confidence, it is too soon to conclude this decline will result in consumers significantly curtailing their spending in the months ahead."

Present Situation
Consumers' appraisal of current business conditions declined in August.

  • 19.9% of consumers said business conditions are "good," down from 24.6%.

  • 24.0% of consumers said business conditions are "bad," up from 20.0%.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market eased.

  • 54.6% of consumers said jobs are "plentiful," down from 55.2%.

  • 11.8% of consumers said jobs are "hard to get," up from 11.1%.

Expectations Six Month Hence
Consumers' optimism about the short-term business conditions outlookdeteriorated in August.

  • 22.9% of consumers expect business conditions will improve, down from 30.9%.

  • 17.8% expect business conditions to worsen, up from 11.9%.

Consumers were somewhat less optimistic about the short-term labor market outlook.

  • 23.0% of consumers expect more jobs to be available in the months ahead, down from 25.5%.

  • 18.6% anticipate fewer jobs, up from 17.8%.

Consumers were less upbeat about their short-term financial prospects.

  • 17.9% of consumers expect their incomes to increase, down from 20.0%.

  • 10.1% expect their incomes will decrease, up from 8.8%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on an online sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Toluna, a technology company that delivers real-time consumer insights and market research through its innovative technology, expertise, and panel of over 36 million consumers. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 25.

Source: August 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®
The Conference Board / Release #9016

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.