The New York-based Conference Board reports that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 93.3 from a revised 94.5 in August. Many observers were encouraged that the decline was less than the reading of 92.4 that analysts had expected.

The September reading signals conflicting emotions among consumers, said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

"Weak labor market conditions continue to erode confidence," Franco said. "But while consumers are not as positive about current business conditions, they are more optimistic about the outlook than last month. Historically, this trend is prevalent during a recovery."