The Conference Board, a non-profit organization that conducts research and analysis on the economy, has just issued its Consumer Confidence Survey® for August 2023, which found a drop in consumer confidence. The Survey measures how consumers feel about the current and future state of the economy and their personal finances.
The August Survey found:
- Consumer confidence declined in August, reversing the gains made in June and July;
- Both the Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index fell, indicating that consumers are less optimistic about current and future business and labor market conditions;
- Consumers are concerned about rising retail prices – in particular, groceries and gasoline – and the impact on their family budgets;
- As employment growth slowed, wages stagnated, and unemployment duration increased, consumers are less positive about the availability of jobs and their income prospects; and
- Fearing a possible recession before the end of the year, consumers are more pessimistic about the outlook for interest rates, stock prices, and inflation.
Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board, shared her perspective on the reasons behind the drop in consumer confidence and its implications for the economy. Peterson expects consumer spending to moderate in the coming months, as consumers face higher costs and lower incomes. She also warns that a sustained decline in consumer confidence could pose a risk to the economy.
Over the past few years in Washington state, we have seen the resilience of retail on full display. WR will continue tracking economic trends months as we head toward the 2023 holiday season.