Consumer confidence rebounds as holiday season nears

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more upbeat expectations for business and labor conditions — and just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index rose 5.5 points to 94.5 for October, more than offsetting a decline the month before.

“Consumers have regained confidence in the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market and are more upbeat about their future earnings potential. With the holiday season around the corner, the boost in confidence should be a welcome sign for retailers,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board.

The business research and membership association bases the index on the results of monthly surveys of households in the United States. Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the country.

For October, a component of the index tracking assessments of current business and labor conditions edged up seven-tenths of a point to 93.7.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the October index was based who described business conditions as “good” inched up three-tenths of a point to 24.5 percent. The share of those who called conditions “bad” rose a half point to 21.7 percent.

The proportion of consumers who characterized jobs as “plentiful” edged up two-tenths to 16.5 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” slipped three-tenths to 29.1 percent.

A component of the index tracking short-term expectations jumped nearly nine points to 95 in October.

The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six moths rose six-tenths to 19.6 percent. The proportion of those anticipating worsening conditions fell more than two points to 9.3 percent.

The share of consumers who believe more jobs will become available in coming months rose eight-tenths to 16.8 percent. The proportion of those who expect fewer jobs fell three points to 13.9 percent.