Consumer confidence rose for a second straight month in September, as moderating gas prices and the hope that inflationary pressures might be easing helped lift the nation’s collective mood.
The Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its baseline index rose to 108 from a revised 103.6 in August.
The reading comes as welcome news, since the consumer outlook lately has been buffeted by the growing fear of an economic downturn. Last Thursday, the Conference Board said its Leading Economic Index notched its sixth consecutive drop, which the organization’s senior director of economics said is “potentially signaling a recession.” The index provides visibility into a range of economic activity ranging from jobs to manufacturing to markets.
The consumer confidence index is just one constellation of data points economists and investors will have to digest this week. The Bureau of Economic Analysis’s third and final look at second-quarter GDP will be released on Thursday. Barring an upward revision that finds the economy expanded instead of contracted, American economic activity will have fallen for two consecutive quarters, a commonly used — although unofficial — yardstick to indicate that the country is in a recession.
On Friday, the BEA will also release its Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation benchmark, and the University of Michigan will report on consumer sentiment.
This story is developing and will be updated.