The latest report by the Conference Board of consumer confidence showed a slight drop to 135.1 though the Wells Fargo Economics Group was anticipating a larger falling-off, based on the recent University of Michigan's gauge of consumer sentiment that "showed a sharp decline." And they noted that the results in the Conference Board report only reflected the first half of August.
Consumer confidence has been weakening since the end of 2018, which coincides with the trade war ratcheting up but one measure of this report, the present situation index, hit 177.2: its highest level since 2000, as 51.2% of consumers rated jobs as being plentiful, a new cyclical high. The expectation level on the other hand came in at 107.0. In the end, the results of the report gave the Wells Fargo group pause.
"Only one other time in the past 18 years has there been such a confidence gap between where we are and where consumers think we are headed," they state. "We find only cold comfort from the fact that consumer confidence did not fall more than it did and suspect once the survey data from the second half of the month are folded in with these preliminary results, the fall will be larger."