The Consumer Confidence Index climbed 4.3 points in September to 104.5. That’s compared to the sharp decline posted in August which took the index down from 107.0 to 100.2

In addition, the Present Situation Index increased 3.8 points to 127.7. The Expectations Index rose 4.6 points to 89.0.

According to Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, "A more favorable assessment of current conditions coupled with a less pessimistic short-term outlook boosted consumer confidence this month. However, even though consumers' concerns have eased, there is little to suggest a significant change in economic activity as we enter the final quarter of 2006."

Consumers' appraisal of ongoing conditions improved in September. Those claiming conditions are "good" increased from 26.2 percent to 27.4 percent. Those claiming conditions are "bad" eased from 16.6 percent to 15.4 percent. Labor market conditions were mixed. Consumers saying jobs are "plentiful" improved from 24.5 percent to 25.9 percent. And those claiming jobs are "hard to get," however, edged up from 21.1 percent to 21.3 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the next six months was less pessimistic in September than it was in August. Those anticipating business conditions to worsen decreased from 12.9 percent to 10.6 percent. Those expecting business conditions to improve, however, remained virtually unchanged at 16.3 percent.

The outlook for the labor market improved moderately. Those expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months increased slightly from 14.2 percent to 14.4 percent. Those expecting fewer jobs decreased from 18.1 percent to 17.1 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating that their incomes would increase in the months ahead rose from 17.9 percent to 19.7 percent.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world's largest custom research company. The cutoff date for September's preliminary results was September 19th.

The Conference Board