U.S. consumer confidence has continued falling for the second month in a row due to inflation concerns as well as the persisting delta variant of COVID-19, according to a press release from The Conference Board regarding its Consumer Confidence Index.
The numbers fell to 109.3 in September after being revised to 115.2 in August, per the release.
“Consumer confidence dropped in September as the spread of the Delta variant continued to dampen optimism,” said The Conference Board Senior Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco in the release.
September saw new concerns about the economy as well as short-term growth prospects, the release stated. This came with a contraction of spending intentions for homes, automobiles and major appliances.
Short-term inflation concerns had eased somewhat from earlier in the year, but Franco said in the release that they were still high.
“Consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending going forward,” she said in the release.
The consumer sentiment numbers might not be the most accurate numbers to judge the spending patterns, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing Citi Economist Veronica Clark. Clark said in a client note that August’s mass fall in consumer confidence didn’t come along with a fall in retail sales at that time.
She said virus cases were showing some signs of stabilizing, and there was also a pullback in prices for used cars, so consumer confidence might eventually rise again, according to WSJ.
In June, consumer confidence had been rising for months as the pandemic was waning at the time, and businesses had been taking steps toward re-opening.
In July, consumer confidence was at its highest level since before the pandemic. Franco said at the time that short-term optimism and expectations for business conditions and personal finance had contributed to the rise.
Read more: US Consumer Confidence Stays Strong in July