Consumer Confidence Index rebounds on more upbeat outlook

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on the most upbeat assessments of current business and labor conditions in nearly seven years.
The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index rose 1.6 points to 92.6 in December, offsetting part of the decline from the month before.
A component of the index tracking current business and labor conditions jumped nearly five points to 98.6, the highest reading since February 2008.
A component of the index tracking expectations slipped nearly a point, however, to 88.5.
“Consumers were modestly less optimistic about the short-term outlook in December. But even so, they are more confident at year end than they were at the beginning of the year,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board.
The Conference Board, a business research and membership association, bases the Consumer Confidence Index on the results of monthly household surveys. Economists closely track the results because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States.
The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the December index was based who described current business conditions as “good” held steady at 24.8 percent. The share of those who said conditions are “bad” fell more than two points to 19.6 percent.
While 17.1 percent of consumers said jobs are “plentiful,” an increase of nearly a point, 27.7 percent said jobs are “hard to get,” down a point.
The proportion of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months edged down three-tenths of a point to 18 percent. But the share of those who anticipate worsening conditions also declined three-tenths to 10.1 percent.
The share of consumers who believe more jobs will become available in coming months fell nearly a point to 14.7 percent. The proportion of those who expect fewer jobs openings rose eight-tenths of a point to 16.9 percent.
While 16.4 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase, down a half point, 10 percent anticipate a decrease, down a point.