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U.S. Consumers a Bit Less Confident in Nov.

The Conference Board’s economist says gas prices had an impact on current outlooks, and a low Expectations Index number still suggests a possible recession.

BOSTON – The U.S. Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased in November after also losing ground in October.

For November, the Index stands at 100.2, down from October’s 102.2. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased to 137.4 from 138.7 last month. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – declined to 75.4 from 77.9.

“Consumer confidence declined again in November, most likely prompted by the recent rise in gas prices,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index moderated further and continues to suggest the economy has lost momentum as the year winds down.”

Franco also called consumers’ expectations “gloomy,” noting the “Expectations Index is below a reading of 80, which suggests the likelihood of a recession remains elevated.”

Franco also says that inflation remains a problem, increasing to its highest level since July, but “both gas and food prices” are the main culprits. “Intentions to purchase homes, automobiles and big-ticket appliances all cooled” in November, she says, and the “combination of inflation and interest rate hikes will continue to pose challenges … into early 2023.”

Chart shows U.S. consumer confidence changes since 2006

Present situation

Consumers’ assessment of current business conditions was mixed in November.

  • 18.2% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 17.7%
  • On the other hand, 26.7%, said business conditions were “bad,” up from 24.0%
  • 45.8% of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” up from 44.8%
  • 13.0% said jobs were “hard to get,” unchanged month-to-month
Chart shows changes to expectations, both long term and short term, over time

Expectations for six months in the future

Consumers remain pessimistic about the short-term business conditions outlook in November.

  • 19.9% of consumers expect business conditions to improve, up slightly from 19.6%
  • 22.7% expect business conditions to worsen, down from 24.3%
  • 18.6% expect more jobs to be available, down from 19.5%
  • 21.4% anticipate fewer jobs, up from 20.8%
  • 17.2% expect their incomes to increase, down from 19.6%
  • 16.6% expect their incomes to decrease, up from 15.2%

Toluna conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was November 18.

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