Consumer confidence unexpectedly pulled back in October as Americans became more concerned about prospects for employment, incomes and the economy.
The Conference Board’s index decreased to 100.9 from a downwardly revised 101.3 reading in September, according to a report Tuesday. The reading fell below the median estimate of 102 in Bloomberg’s survey of economists.
The gauge of expectations slipped 4.5 points to 98.4, while a measure of sentiment about current conditions rose to a seven-month high of 104.6.
Economists project the expansion in the world’s largest economy to moderate after a projected record annualised increase in the third quarter. The reading, which shows sentiment remains well below pre-pandemic levels, comes a week before the presidential election and underscores the impact of the virus and lack of new stimulus.
“There is little to suggest that consumers foresee the economy gaining momentum in the final months of 2020, especially with Covid-19 cases on the rise and unemployment still high,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement.
The decline in expectations was mainly driven by a dimmer short-term outlook for jobs. The share of respondents who said that they expect fewer jobs in the next six months rose to 20.2% from 16.1%, the report showed. Larger percentages also said that they expect business conditions to worsen and less income.
Respondents indicated they were more less likely to make big purchases, including cars and appliances, in the coming months. The share planning to buy a home increased slightly to a three-month high of 6.6%.