MARK-TO-MARKET: Inflation, Delta variant add to consumer apprehensions | Business & Economy

It’s been a rough three months for American consumers.

Long considered one of the bellwether measures of consumer optimism, the Consumer Confidence Index has been steadily declining under a mounting list of consumer apprehensions. Released each month by The Conference Board, the index has a benchmark of 100. Any level above 100 indicates an optimism by consumers on jobs, income and the economy.

In September, the Consumer Confidence Index fell to 109.3, down from August’s level of 115.2. It was the third consecutive monthly decline and the lowest level since March. The index has fallen 19.6 points from its 2021 peak of 128.9 in June. Commenting on the September report, Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, stated “These back-to-back declines suggest consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending going forward.”

Of the consumers surveyed in the September report, 19.3% said current…

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