PhotoAfter posting gains in each of the previous two months, consumer confidence in the economy took a negative turn in October.

The Conference Board reports its Consumer Confidence Index slipped 4.9 points in October -- to 98.6, with the Present Situation Index dropping from 127.9 to 120.6 and the Expectations Index falling to 83.9 from 82.7 the month before

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and employment conditions softened, said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “while optimism regarding the short-term outlook retreated somewhat.

However she notes that consumers’ expectations regarding their income prospects in the coming months were relatively unchanged. “Overall, sentiment is that the economy will continue to expand in the near-term, but at a moderate pace,” she concluded

The view from consumers

Appraisal of current conditions softened this month, with those who said business conditions are “good” dipping from 27.7% to 26.2% and those who think they're “bad” rising from 15.8% to 17.7%.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also less positive than last month. Those who see jobs as “plentiful” dropped to 24.3% from 27.6%; however, those who think jobs are “hard to get” slipped from 22.3% to 22.1%.

There was less optimism regarding the short-term outlook in October. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined to 16.0% from 17.0%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 10.8% to 12.2%.

Regarding the labor market, the proportion of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell from 15.7% to 13.1%. At the same time, though, those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 18.1% to 17.0%.

The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase was unchanged at 17.5%, while the proportion expecting a decline dropped to 9.8% from 10.4%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted by Nielsen, a provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cut-off date for the preliminary results was October 13.

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