Consumers’ views of the economic outlook soured in November as coronavirus cases soared across the country, according to survey data released Tuesday.
The Conference Board, a private research group, said its index of consumer confidence fell to 96.1 this month, from a revised 101.4 in October. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a reading of 98.0.
Americans’ dimming view of the economy’s prospects in the months ahead drove the index’s decline, said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.
“Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions held steady, though consumers noted a moderation in business conditions, suggesting growth has slowed in [the fourth quarter],” said Ms. Franco. “Heading into 2021, consumers do not foresee the economy, nor the labor market, gaining strength. In addition, the resurgence of Covid-19 is further increasing uncertainty and exacerbating concerns about the outlook.”
Tuesday’s report comes amid other mixed data showing the U.S. economic recovery is continuing, but growth in retail sales and employment has slowed. Initial claims for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, rose last week.