US consumer confidence dives in September

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US consumer confidence fell sharply in September after four straight monthly rises due to mounting concerns about the jobs market, the Conference Board said ON Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index fell to 86.0 from 93.4 in August. The index was 80.2 in September last year.

"A less positive assessment of the current job market, most likely due to the recent softening in growth, was the sole reason for the decline in consumers' assessment of present-day conditions," said Lynn Franco, director of indicators at the Conference Board. "Looking ahead, consumers were less confident about the short-term outlook for the economy and labour market, and somewhat mixed regarding their future earnings potential."

The present situation component of the index fell to 89.4 from 93.9, while the listing for expectations dropped to 83.7 from 93.1.

Overall views of current business conditions were essentially unchanged, but views of job availability declined sharply. Both measures worsened for the six-month outlook, and that showed up in a downturn in consumers' plans for major purchases of homes or cars in the next six months.

"All told, consumers expect economic growth to ease in the months ahead," said Franco.