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Consumer confidence drops in November for second-straight month

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Thanks in part to rising gas prices, consumer confidence across the United States declined for the second straight month in November, according to a report from The Conference Board issued on Tuesday. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
Thanks in part to rising gas prices, consumer confidence across the United States declined for the second straight month in November, according to a report from The Conference Board issued on Tuesday. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Consumer confidence across the United States declined for the second straight month in November, according to The Conference Board, an international non-profit think tank.

The board's Consumer Confidence Index dropped in November after also losing ground in October, according to its report issued on Tuesday.

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The index dipped to 100.2 this month, down from 102.2 in October. November's low water mark is the farthest it has dropped since July.

The board says high U.S. gas prices are mostly to blame for the ongoing drop in consumer confidence.

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"Consumer confidence declined again in November, most likely prompted by the recent rise in gas prices," The Conference Board Senior Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco said in a statement.

Gas prices have fallen recently.

The average price for a gallon of regular fuel was $3.521 on Tuesday, according to AAA. That figure is a drop from $3.761 in October.

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"The Present Situation Index moderated further and continues to suggest the economy has lost momentum as the year winds down," Franco added.

The group's Present Situation Index measures consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions and fell slightly to 137.4 from 138.7 in October.

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"Consumers' expectations regarding the short-term outlook remained gloomy. Indeed, the Expectations Index is below a reading of 80, which suggests the likelihood of a recession remains elevated," Franco said in the report.

The board's Expectations Index is based on consumers' short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions. It declined to 75.4 from 77.9 according to the report.

Despite the news, Cyber Monday sales were expected to break records after Black Friday sales topped $9 billion.

Data from Adobe Analytics showed that consumers were expected to spend between $11.2 billion and $11.6 billion on Cyber Monday, making it the biggest online shopping day of the year and of all time. Consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday in 2021.

However, on Tuesday, the board warned consumers not to expect a quick turnaround.

The report found 26.7% of consumers said business conditions were "bad" in November, which is up from 24% in October. At the same time, 45.8% of consumers said jobs were "plentiful," up from 44.8% the month before.

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"Inflation expectations increased to their highest level since July, with both gas and food prices as the main culprits. Intentions to purchase homes, automobiles, and big-ticket appliances all cooled. The combination of inflation and interest rate hikes will continue to pose challenges to confidence and economic growth into early 2023," Franco said in a statement.

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