The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index Falls to Lowest Level Since 1993 Latest Plunge Could Have a Big Impact on Holiday Shopping Season



    NEW YORK, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Conference Board's Consumer
 Confidence Index, which has declined for four consecutive months, deteriorated
 even further in October.  The Index now stands at 79.4 (1985=100), down from
 93.7 in September.
     The Present Situation Index fell to 77.5 from 88.5, and the Expectations
 Index declined to 80.7 from 97.2. Consumer Confidence is now at its lowest
 level since November 1993, when it stood at 71.9.
     The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of
 5,000 U.S. households.  The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference
 Board by NFO WorldGroup, a member of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:  
 IPG).
     "A weak labor market, the threat of military action in Iraq, and a
 prolonged decline in the financial markets have clearly dampened both
 consumers' confidence and their expectations for the near future," says Lynn
 Franco, Director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.  "The
 outlook for the holiday retail season is now fairly bleak. Without the
 likelihood of a pickup in consumer spending, an already weak economic recovery
 could weaken further."
     Consumers' assessment of the present situation turned notably more
 negative.  Those rating current business conditions as "bad" increased to
 27.6 percent from 23.8 percent.  Those rating current conditions as "good"
 decreased to 15.6 percent from 18.5 percent.  Consumers reporting jobs are
 hard to get rose to 27.3 percent from 25.4 percent last month.  Those claiming
 jobs are plentiful declined to 14.8 percent from 15.9 percent in September.
     Consumers' expectations for the next six months fell in October.  The
 percent of respondents expecting a deterioration in business conditions in the
 next six months rose to 14.1 percent from 9.7 percent.  Consumers expecting
 conditions to improve declined to 19.0 percent from 21.6 percent.
     The employment outlook was also less favorable in October.  Consumers
 anticipating more jobs to become available dropped to 15.0 percent from
 17.3 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs in the coming months rose to
 22.1 percent from 16.8 percent.  Income expectations were also more
 pessimistic.  Now, only 17.8 percent of consumers anticipate a rise in their
 incomes, down from 21.5 percent in September.
 
             Source: The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index
                                  October 2002
 
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SOURCE The Conference Board

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