November 16, 2020 — The Conference Board headline Consumer Confidence Index decreased slightly to 100.9 in October from a downwardly revised 101.3 in September. Consumers’ confidence in current economic conditions diverged from their future expectations, with stronger confidence in current conditions, up from 98.9 to 104.6, but lower expectations of future income, business and labor market conditions. The expectations component decreased to 98.4 from 102.9 in September.
Based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions, the Present Situation Index decelerated in October, gaining only 5.7 points compared to a 12.7 leap the previous month. This could be due to a softening short-term outlook for jobs as more layoffs move from the temporary to permanent category. The Present Situation assessment remains well below the pre-pandemic level of 168. The Expectations Index has been much less volatile throughout 2020 and remains close to the pandemic high of 106.1 in June. Consumers demonstrated enough uncertainty about the pandemic, the economy, and the election, however, to give back some of last month’s gains.