US consumer confidence falls to lowest in 6 years

By Martin Crutsinger | The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer confidence fell for the second consecutive month, sinking to the lowest levels in more than six years as a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in many parts of the country heightened pessimism.

The Conference Board, a New York research organization, reported Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index declined to a reading of 84.8 in August, the lowest level since May 2014.

The drop, which followed a July decline to 91.7, put the index 36 percent below its high point for the year reached in February, before the coronavirus began to seriously impact the United States.

Because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S., a drop-off in confidence gets a lot of attention from economists.

“Consumer spending has rebounded in recent months but increasing concerns among consumers about the economic outlook and their financial well-being will likely cause spending to cool in the months ahead,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of indicators at the Conference Board.

The part of the index that measures present conditions decreased sharply with consumers indicating that both business and employment conditions have deteriorated sharply over the past month. Consumer optimism about the short-term outlook and their financial prospects also declined.

“Consumer confidence has now taken two steps back after one giant step forward in June,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Adisors. “Initial hopes for a faster return to a pre-pandemic normal have faded.”

More in Business

A sales associate helps customers as they consider the purchase of a big-screen television at a Costco warehouse on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, in Sheridan, Colo.  U.S. consumer confidence fell to a reading of 96.1 in November as rising coronavirus cases pushed Americans’ confidence down to the lowest level since August. The Conference Board said the November reading represented a drop from a revised 101.4 in October.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Picture of US economy still worrisome as virus damages

By Martin Crutsinger and Paul Wiseman | The Associated Press WASHINGTON —… Continue reading

A KidiZoom Creator Cam by VTech is displayed at the Toy Fair, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in New York. The digital camera comes with a green screen and animated backgrounds allowing kids to go to outer space, get chased by T-Rex, or make things disappear. The camera comes with a tabletop tripod, which can also be used as a selfie stick. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Holiday trends to watch: Adult Play-Doh; stores with shipping

By Joseph Pisani and Anne D’Innocenzio | The Associated Press NEW YORK… Continue reading

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Construction fencing surrounds the site of a luxury hotel being built by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe at Front and Laurel streets in downtown Port Angeles.
Elwha Hotel build to start next summer

Epidemic has slowed progress of project

Global rally slows, but vaccine optimism still remains high

By Stan Choe and Damian J. Troise | The Associated Press NEW… Continue reading

Free business tax webinar slated

The state Department of Revenue will host a free live… Continue reading

Nina Hill receives OMC leadership award.
Olympic Medical Center recognizes lab manager

Nina Hill was presented a leadership award by Dr.… Continue reading

Clallam PUD earns Smart Energy Provider designation

Clallam Public Utility District #1 has earned the Smart… Continue reading