Oct 30, 2019 - Economy & Business

The growing consumer confidence gap

Data: The Conference Board; ; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: The Conference Board; ; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index dipped slightly in October, but showed a notable decline in the survey's future expectations component and a growing divergence between respondents' views of their current situation and their expectations for the future.

By the numbers: Expectations fell 0.9 points during the month and have dropped by 17.5 points from their 2019 peak in July, Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson says in a note.

Why it matters: "The trend now probably is declining — not surprising given the ongoing trade war and specifically the August 1 announcement of tariffs on consumer goods."

  • "We expect slowing payroll growth gradually to depress consumers’ sentiment through the late fall and winter, but it’s hard to expect it to plunge as long as the stock market is resilient and gas prices are low."

But, but, but: Another consumer sentiment survey from online survey research company Morning Consult shows just the opposite.

  • They show increasing expectations of the future with "statistically significant weekly increases" in all measures of future expectations, but stagnant views on the present as consumers "adopted a gloomier view of their current financial conditions."

Go deeper: Mistrust in business grows

Go deeper