American consumers might need to be talked off some ledges, judging from consumer confidence numbers out today, which indicate continuing worry over employment and stock market unrest. The crucial figure—99.8, compared to 105.6 in August—is the lowest since 2005, the Conference Board says. Economists had expected it to fall, but only to about 104, a Reuters poll showed.
“The trend in confidence is downshifting,” one economist told Bloomberg. “It puts pressure on the Fed.” The Fed has already cut rates to avoid recession, but a slowdown in consumer spending, which represents two-thirds of the economy, might lead the central bank to do more.