U.S. consumer confidence was unchanged in September

Consumer confidence essentially was unchanged in September as consumers remained pessimistic about the economy, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index increased slightly from 45.2 in August to 45.4 in September. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a critical part of a strong rebound.

"The pessimism that shrouded consumers last month has spilled over into September," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Consumer expectations, which had plummeted in August, posted a marginal gain. However, consumers expressed greater concern about their expected earnings, a sign that does not bode well for spending. In addition, consumers' assessment of current conditions declined for the fifth consecutive month, a sign that the economic environment remains weak."

Date : 10/13/2011