Consumer Confidence Index increases

Lynn Franco

A measure of consumer confidence has increased on more upbeat expectations for business and labor conditions.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose 2.1 points to 89.3 in January. 

An increase in a component of the index tracking the short-term outlook more than offset a decrease in a component of the index tracking current assessments.

“Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions weakened further in January, with COVID-19 still the major suppressor,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “Consumers’ expectations for the economy and jobs, however, advanced further, suggesting that consumers foresee conditions improving in the not-too-distant future.”

Franco said a growing portion of consumers also said they intend to purchase homes within the next months.

Less optimistic assessments of business and labor conditions pulled the present situation component of the index down 2.8 points from December to 84.4.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the index was based who described business conditions as “good” rose four-tenths of a point to 15.8 percent. But the share of those who said conditions are “bad” increased more — 3.1 points to 42.8 percent.

The proportion of consumers who called jobs “plentiful”  fell four-tenths of a point to 20.6 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” rose nine-tenths of a point to 23.8 percent.

More upbeat responses pushed the expectations component of the index up 5.5 points to 92.5.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose 4.2 points to 33.7 percent. The proportion of those who said they anticipated worsening conditions fell 3.9 points to 18.1 percent.

The share of those who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months rose 3.3 points to 31.3 percent. The proportion of those who forecast fewer jobs fell eight-tenths of a point to 21.4 percent.

Asked about their expectations for income, 14.4 percent of those who responded said they anticipated increases — down 1.3 points. Meanwhile, 14.2 percent said they anticipated decreases — down four-tenths of a point.