August 31 Consumer confidence plummeted in August, falling to its lowest level in more than two years, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index survey from The Conference Board.
The Index fell more than 14 points, to 44.5. It was 59.2 in July, which was a slight improvement from June.
The survey is conducted monthly among a random sample of U.S. households.
The consumers' reading of present day conditions weakened in August as did the their view of the short-term outlook. More than 40% of respondents called current business conditions "bad," up from 38.7% the previous month. Those expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months fell to 11.8% from 17.9% a month earlier.
Just over 11% of consumer respondents expect to see more jobs in the coming months and just over 14% expect their incomes to increase in the period.
"Consumer confidence deteriorated sharply in August, as consumers grew significantly more pessimistic about the short-term outlook," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
"The Index is now at its lowest level in more than two years (April 2009, 40.8). A contributing factor may have been the debt ceiling discussions since the decline in confidence was well underway before the S&P downgrade. Consumers' assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, posted only a modest decline as employment conditions continue to suppress confidence," she added.