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Consumer confidence slips in October amid COVID-19 uncertainties

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Cheung joins Zack Guzman to discuss a new poll that indicates the Federal response to coronavirus has only gotten worse.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: I want to shift over to what we're seeing play out on the economic front because we've got new data there in terms of consumer confidence dropping in the month of October. And support from the CARES Act wears off, the Conference Board today reporting the index there slipping to a reading of 100.9, down from 100.1-- 101.3 in September, rather. That was weaker than what economists had been bracing for.

I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's Brian Cheung, who has more from that report. And Brian, I mean, this is something, I guess, economists were bracing for when we talk about how long it's been since we saw money come through in the CARES Act.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, absolutely, and we talk about all the anecdotes of this economic recovery perhaps slowing down, the consumer confidence numbers from the Conference Board do appear to be corroborating that. As you mentioned, the index falling to just above 100, that means that we're reversing that trend after hitting that pandemic high of 101.3 in September. This, obviously, coming as the COVID cases nationally continue to rise.

And there are a number of gauges in this reading that I want to point out which shows a bit of interesting divergence in where people see the economy going. The consumer asked right now how they feel about the economy, that reading actually went up to 104.6 in October. But the consumers' expectations over the next six months went down to 98.4, which means that net-net, that's the reason why the consumer confidence overall reading fell to just a tick above 100 in the month of October.

Now, this shows that consumers are OK with right now, but they're scared about what's going to happen in the short term. Chris Rupkey, the econom-- economist, rather, at MUFG summarizing it pretty well, saying the skies over the economic outlook have gone cloudy and gray. The consumer confidence numbers ticking down shows that that might be the beginning of the economic outlook getting a little bit more dire in the future.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and when we think about where some of the shakiness comes from too, I mean, a new Axios-Ipsos poll looking at where that shakiness is in the eyes of the consumer in terms of the stimulus or relief measures. Not a lot of people out there are very pleased with what's playing out in Congress, according to that report. Talk to me about what you're seeing in terms of states and local faith in the stimulus coming through versus what you're seeing play out at a federal level.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, well, new Axios-Ipsos poll from this morning showing that 46% of Americans say the federal government has done worse now than it did at the beginning of this pandemic. 26% of Americans, on the other side of the coin, say the federal government has done better. Now, overall, more respondents said that their state and local governments, and even their employers, their-- people that they work for were doing better than they were in the beginning when it comes to an overall response to this crisis as we get into the eighth month of this pandemic.

Interestingly, they also said that the CDC was doing better than it was at the beginning, which shows that most Americans, in this Axios-Ipsos poll, at least, seem to be having more faith in the likes of Dr. Fauci than they do in the White House and Congress.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, very interesting bifurcation there, seeing those numbers widely different the longer we go into this recovery here. We'll see how that changes with confidence. Looking a bit shakier than before. Brian Cheung, appreciate you bringing us that.