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

Break-in at Red Deer business

Social media reports confirm a business break and enter in Red Deer… Continue reading

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Trudeau rules out snap election call, national ballot slated for Oct. 21

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be no early… Continue reading

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North America

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

Most Read