U.S. consumer confidence down in September

Americans’ worries about job security flared up in September, causing a widely watched barometer of consumer confidence to dip unexpectedly and raising more concern about the upcoming holiday shopping season and the overall economic recovery.

Pedestrians walk by the window display at an Old Navy store in downtown Chicago on Sept. 21

NEW YORK — Americans’ worries about job security flared up in September, causing a widely watched barometer of consumer confidence to dip unexpectedly and raising more concern about the upcoming holiday shopping season and the overall economic recovery.

The New York-based Conference Board, a private research group, said that its consumer confidence index dipped to 53.1 in September, down from the revised 54.5 reading in August. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a reading of 57.

The index had enjoyed a three-month climb fuelled by signs that the economy might be stabilizing. That followed a historic low in February of 25.3 and a bumpy road after June as rising unemployment has caught up with shoppers.

A reading above 90 means the economy is on solid footing. Above 100 signals strong growth.

While the confidence index has doubled from the historic low in February, it’s still about half of the historic average and below the 61.4 level right before the collapse of Lehman Brothers last fall.

Paul Dales, U.S. economist at Capital Economics Ltd, said that despite a rally in the stock market, shoppers are fixating on the job market and wages.

“Falling employment and incomes are undermining confidence and are likely to continue to do so,” Dales wrote in a report released Tuesday. “Confidence is set to remain at fairly subdued levels,” adding that consequently consumer spending will remain modest.

Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo, noted that the unexpected decline in confidence raises concerns about holiday spending.

“Last year, consumers were shellshocked as they worried about what might happen to the economy. Today, shoppers . . . don’t have the means to step up spending,” Vitner said.

Meanwhile, The Conference Board of Canada reported consumer confidence in Canada is on the rise, increasing for the seventh straight month in September. The monthly survey found confidence rising in many of the key indicators, including sentiments among Canadians about their finances, job prospects and about their ability to make big purchases.

The index rose 2.5 points to 90.9 out of 100, the seventh consecutive monthly bump, something that has not happened since 2002.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Canada’s tax system unfairly favours wealthy, poll of CRA auditors suggests

OTTAWA — A recent union-sponsored survey suggests an overwhelming majority of federal… Continue reading

Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair continues to lead fight against MS

TORONTO — Christine Sinclair continues to have an impact on and off… Continue reading

In Franklin’s anthems, women heard an empowering message

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin never saw herself as a feminist heroine.… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month