CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FALLS

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 70.4, missing economist expectations for a 72.6 reading.

October’s figure was revised to 72.4, from 71.2.

“Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. However, these sentiments did not carry over into the short-term outlook,” The Conference Board’s Lynn Franco said in a statement. “When looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earning prospects, but remain neutral about economic conditions. All in all, with such uncertainly prevailing, this could be a challenging holiday season for retailers.”

The revised October reading plummeted largely as a result of the government shutdown and debt ceiling, which “took a particularly large toll on consumers’ expectations,” according to the report.

The Conference Board measures optimism regarding the economy by looking at consumer spending and savings activity.

Here’s the full press release:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had decreased sharply in October, declined again in November. The Index now stands at 70.4 (1985=100), down from 72.4 in October. The Present Situation Index edged down to 72.0 from 72.6. The Expectations Index declined to 69.3 from 72.2 last month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was November 15.

Said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer confidence declined moderately in November after sharply declining in October. Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. However, these sentiments did not carry over into the short-term outlook. When looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earning prospects, but remain neutral about economic conditions. All in all, with such uncertainly prevailing, this could be a challenging holiday season for retailers.”

Consumers’ assessment of overall current conditions decreased slightly. Those claiming business conditions are “good” edged up to 19.9 per cent from 19.5 per cent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased to 25.2 per cent from 23.0 per cent. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was little changed. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” ticked up to 11.8 per cent from 11.6 per cent, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly to 34.0 per cent from 34.9 per cent.

Consumers’ expectations, which had decreased sharply in October, declined further in November. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased slightly to 16.6 per cent from 16.0 per cent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 16.8 per cent from 17.5 per cent. However, consumers’ outlook for the labour market was more pessimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead fell to 12.7 per cent from 16.0 per cent, but those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased to 21.7 per cent from 22.6 per cent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined to 14.9 per cent from 15.7 per cent. Those expecting a decrease in their incomes rose slightly to 15.9 per cent from 15.5 per cent.

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