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U.S. Consumer Confidence Deteriorates Much More Than Expected

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A report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence deteriorated by much more than anticipated in the month of September.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index tumbled to 125.1 in September from a downwardly revised 134.2 in August.

Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to dip to 133.0 from the 135.1 originally reported for the previous month.

Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, said an escalation in trade and tariff tensions in late August appears to have rattled consumers.

"However, this pattern of uncertainty and volatility has persisted for much of the year and it appears confidence is plateauing," Franco said.

She added, "While confidence could continue hovering around current levels for months to come, at some point this continued uncertainty will begin to diminish consumers' confidence in the expansion."

The bigger than expected drop by the consumer confidence index reflected notable decreases by both the present situation index and the expectations index.

The present situation index slumped to 176.0 in September from 169.0 in August, as consumers' appraisal of current-day conditions was somewhat less favorable.

The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are "good" fell to 37.3 percent from 40.9 percent and the percentage saying conditions are "bad" climbed to 12.7 percent from 9.9 percent.

Consumers' assessment of the job market was also less favorable, with those saying jobs are "plentiful" dropping to 44.8 percent from 50.3 percent, although those claiming jobs are "hard to get" also edged down to 11.6 percent from 12.0 percent.

Reflecting less optimism about the short-term outlook, the expectations index also plunged to 95.8 in September from 106.4 in August.

Consumers expecting business conditions will be better six months from now dipped to 19.0 percent from 21.6 percent and those expecting business conditions will worsen rose to 14.3 percent from 10.2 percent.

The outlook for the labor market was also less upbeat, with consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead falling to 17.5 percent from 19.9 percent and those anticipating fewer jobs ticking up to 15.7 percent from 13.7 percent.

On Friday, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised reading on consumer sentiment in the month of September.

The consumer sentiment index is expected to be unrevised from the preliminary reading of 92.0, which was up from 89.8 in August.

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