Economic Indicators Improved Again in September

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in September for the second consecutive month. The Index now stands at 108.0 (1985=100), up from 103.6 in August. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—rose to 149.6 from 145.3 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—increased to 80.3 from 75.8. 

 “Consumer confidence improved in September for the second consecutive month supported in particular by jobs, wages, and declining gas prices,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index rose again, after declining from April through July. The Expectations Index also improved from summer lows, but recession risks nonetheless persist. Concerns about inflation dissipated further in September—prompted largely by declining prices at the gas pump—and are now at their lowest level since the start of the year.”

“Meanwhile, purchasing intentions were mixed, with intentions to buy automobiles and big-ticket appliances up, while home purchasing intentions fell. The latter no doubt reflects rising mortgage rates and a cooling housing market. Looking ahead, the improvement in confidence may bode well for consumer spending in the final months of 2022, but inflation and interest-rate hikes remain strong headwinds to growth in the short term.” 

Present Situation

Consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions was more favorable in September.

  • 20.8% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 19.0%.
  • 21.2% of consumers said business conditions were “bad,” down from 22.6%.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market improved.

  • 49.4% of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” up from 47.6%.
  • 11.4% of consumers said jobs were “hard to get,” down slightly from 11.6%.

Expectations Six Months Hence

Consumers were more positive about the short-term business conditions outlook in September.

  • 19.3% of consumers expect business conditions to improve, up from 17.3%.
  • 21.0% expect business conditions to worsen, down from 21.7%.

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

  • 17.5% of consumers expect more jobs to be available, up from 17.1%.
  • 17.7% anticipate fewer jobs, down from 19.6%.

Consumers were mixed about their short-term financial prospects.

  • 18.4% of consumers expect their incomes to increase, up from 16.6%.
  • Conversely, 14.3% expect their incomes will decrease, up from 13.9%.


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 September 20.

Source: September 2022 Consumer Confidence Survey®
The Conference Board

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.

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