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Consumer Confidence Down, Better Than Last Year


Consumer Confidence Down, Better Than Last Year

The Conference Board's composite Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) dropped for the second straight month during August, but was higher than the same month last year.

By Daryl Delano, Cahners Economics September 30, 1999
This article first appeared in the PB October 1999 issue of Pro Builder.

The Conference Board’s composite Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) dropped for the second straight month during August, but was higher than the same month last year.


Consumer Confidence by Region
(Index, 1985=100)
  Jun-99 Jul-99 Aug-99
Total U.S. 139.0 136.2 135.8
New England 131.7 135.1 139.6
Middle Atlantic 122.9 110.4 104.1
East North Central 142.0 139.9 137.9
West North Central 136.9 128.4 139.8
South Atlantic 146.8 142.9 145.2
East South Central 136.0 139.3 127.7
West South Central 139.3 141.5 142.4
Rocky Mountain 131.4 131.9 130.4
Pacific Coast 136.6 130.7 130.8
Source: The Conference Board

At a level of 135.8 (1985=100) this August, the CCI was almost three points higher than in August 1998 and off only about two points from June’s all-time record high of 139.0.

Consumer’s assessment of present economic conditions during August 1999 dipped only three points below the dizzying record-high of 179.2 set a month earlier. Consumer expectations for the economy bounced back to a level of 108.9 in August-still lower than in May or June, but more than 10% above the level recorded at the end of 1998.

The composite CCI increased in five of the nation’s nine regions between this July and August. The sharpest gain was recorded in the East North Central (Plains) states as the CCI moved from 128.4 to 139.8. A sharp decline in confidence of almost this same magnitude occurred in the East South Central region as the confidence index moved down from 139.3 in July to 127.7 (the second-lowest reading among all regions) during August.

During August 1999, overall consumer confidence was highest in the South Atlantic region and lowest in the Middle Atlantic states. Over the past year, well-above-average increases in confidence have been recorded by the New England, West North Central, and West South Central regions. Confidence readings have faded most significantly over the past twelve months among consumers in the Rocky Mountain and Middle Atlantic states.

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