Job security -- one of the components making up the index -- took a serious hit this month amid the budget feud that put the brakes on much of the federal government, says Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
"With hundreds of thousands of government employees furloughed and many government contractors reeling from the shutdown, feelings of job security plummeted to the lowest level in nearly two years," he says. "Just 14 percent now feel more secure in their jobs than last year, while 26 percent feel less secure -- the most downbeat reading since November 2011."
Those who feel less secure in their jobs outnumber those feeling more secure across every age group and income bracket, McBride notes.
This month also saw Americans growing more uneasy about their savings. Nearly 4 in 10, or 38 percent, say they feel less comfortable than they did a year ago about the amount of money they have in savings. That's up from the 32 percent who were in that camp during June, when the overall index reached an all-time high.
Among consumers earning less than $50,000 a year, those feeling worse about their savings currently beat out those who feel more comfortable by a ratio of about 4-to-1.