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The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index declined this month to a seven-month low 109.3 and follows revised 115.2 for August. Even though the measure has dropped 19.6 points from its peak of 128.9 reported in June, consumer confidence is still high by historical standards. “These back-to-back declines suggest consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending going forward,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. The Present Situation Index, which is based on consumers’ sentiment of current business conditions and the labor market, declined to 143.4 down from 148.9 in August. The proportion of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles, and major appliances all showed cooling. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and the job market dropped to 86.6 as compared to last month’s 92.8, this is the lowest reading since January. The share of consumers that indicated jobs were plentiful increased to 55.9%, up from 55.6%. However, despite the positive job outlook the share of consumers who said jobs were hard to get increased to 13.4%, up from 11.2% last month. The percentage of consumers who said business conditions are “good” dropped to 19.3%, down from 20.2% in August.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in his remarks to the Senate Banking Committee cautioned that inflation will likely remain high in the coming months. “Inflation is elevated and will likely remain so in coming months before moderating,” Powell said. With the economy continuing to strengthen against the headwinds of rising COVID-19 cases and disrupted supply chains the Fed Chair remarked – “As the economy continues to reopen and spending rebounds, we are seeing upward pressure on prices, particularly due to supply bottlenecks in some sectors. These effects have been larger and longer-lasting than anticipated, but they will abate, and as they do, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run 2 percent goal.” Additionally, Powell expressed concerns over how bottlenecks, hiring difficulties, and other constraints could potentially increase inflationary pressure, he reassured the committee that the Fed would react appropriately to ensure that inflation runs at levels that are consistent with their goal.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ third and final estimate on second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth reported an economy expanding at an annual rate of 6.7%, up from its previous estimate of 6.6%, accelerating past Q1’s 6.3% annual rate. Consumer spending, which accounts for some 70% of economic activity grew at a 12.0% annual rate in Q2, contributing to the slight increase. Business investment in equipment reported 12.1% (vs +11.6% second reading). Exports also contributed, rising at an annual rate of 7.6% (vs +6.6% second reading). Gains were partially offset by a sharper increase in imports, which rose at a 7.1% annual rate (vs +6.7% second reading). Home investment reported -11.7% annual rate (vs -11.5% second reading). The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 6.5%, while the Core (exclude food and energy) PCE price index increased 6.1%, both indices were unrevised from their second estimate.
Monday October 4 – Factory Orders (MoM) (August)
Friday October 8 – Unemployment Rate (September)