September 22, 2021 – The August Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased to its lowest point since February, dropping 11.3 points to 113.8, down from July’s already downwardly revised 125.1. The present situation component dropped nearly 10 points, likely a consumer reaction to both the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and ongoing price inflation. The expectations component also dropped more than 12 points—the largest drop since November 2020.
The August numbers could represent a reversal in the positive trends of spring and early summer. Readings over the next several months will likely be dependent on controlling the spread of the Delta variant. Regional differences may also become more pronounced in the September readings given the wildfires in the Pacific region states and impact of Hurricane Ida on areas from the West South Central region to New England.
Consumer moods remain fragile. Consumer optimism in the economy, employment outlook, and income expectations could be overshadowed again by pessimism surrounding health and safety issues.