Consumer confidence dropped last week to the lowest mark in eight months, a likely consequence of Americans showing concern the the budget standoff would harm the economy.
Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 36.1 in the period ended Oct. 20, the lowest since February. The report showed more households were pessimistic about the economy than at any time in the past year. This sentiment lingered even as lawmakers approved a deal that ended the partial shutdown of federal agencies.
Going forward, the agreement to fund the government into 2014 is expected to temporarily help sentiment heading into the holiday-shopping season. But data showing hiring has slowed in recent weeks also means the job market could be losing momentum, a possible threat to upcoming household spending.
"We will probably see some bounce in confidence after these settlements, even though theyre temporary and imperfect, said Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC. Consumption really is being driven by those labor-market developments, and it looks like theyve been a little bit softer in the last three months.
The buying-climate measure of the Index fell to minus 38.3 from minus 36.9 as fewer respondents said it is a good time to make purchases. The reading for personal finances fell to minus 2, the worst since April, from minus 0.1.
Sentiment is waning as the job market shows signs of cooling. Employers added 148,000 workers to payrolls in September, fewer than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, Labor Department figures showed this week. The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 7.2%, the lowest since November 2008.