Driving down the overall level was a steep decline in consumers’ expectations for the next six months. The expectations index fell from 73.7 to a reading of 66.4 — the lowest level in nearly a decade, according to the report.
“Consumers’ grimmer outlook was driven by increasing concerns about inflation, in particular rising gas and food prices,” Lynn Franco, The Conference Board’s senior director of economic indicators, said in a statement. “Expectations have now fallen well below a reading of 80, suggesting weaker growth in the second half of 2022 as well as growing risk of recession by year end.”
Consumers’ assessments of current economic conditions, however, dipped only slightly.
“The more cyclical present situations index had held up much better as the labor market still remains strong and should power consumer spending in the near term despite rising interest rates and higher inflation,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, told CNN Business via email.
Despite confidence levels trending into pessimism territory, and hitting the lowest reading since February 2021, the index is higher than it was during the pandemic and stands significantly above the Great Recession doldrums.
This story is developing and will be updated.