Consumer Confidence Index rises

Lynn Franco

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has increased on more upbeat assessments of labor and business conditions.

“Optimism about the labor market should continue to support confidence in the short term and, as a result, consumers will continue driving growth and prevent the economy from slowing in early 2020,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

The business research and membership association reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose 3.4 points to 131.6 in January.

The index is based on monthly household surveys. Economists monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.

Assessments of current business and labor conditions pushed up the present situation component of the index 4.8 points to 175.3.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the January index was based who described business conditions as “good” climbed 1.8 points to 40.8 percent. The share of those who characterized conditions as “bad” fell six-tenths of a point to 10.4 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” increased 2.5 points to 49 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” decreased 1.4 points to 11.6 percent.

The short-term outlook pushed the expectations component of the index up 2.5 points to 102.5.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months held steady at 18.8 percent. But the proportion of those who said they anticipated worsening conditions fell four-tenths of a point to 8.4 percent.

The share of consumers who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months increased 1.7 points to 17.2 percent. The proportion of those anticipating fewer jobs decreased a half point to 13.4 percent.

While 22.7 percent of consumers said they expected their incomes to increase, up seven-tenths of a point, the share of those who expected decreases remained unchanged at 7.7 percent.