Just in time for the holiday shopping season, a monthly measure of consumer confidence reflects more cheer than fear.
The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index surged more than 15 points to 56 in November on more optimistic assessments of current and future business and labor conditions.
“Consumers appear to be entering the holiday season in better spirits, though overall readings remain historically weak,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
With the November gain, the CCI has rebounded to its highest level since July, when the index stood at 59.2.
“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions finally improved after six months of steady declines,” Franco said. “Consumers’ apprehension regarding the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and income prospects eased considerably.”
The Conference Board, a business research and membership group, bases the CCI on the results of monthly surveys of U.S. households.
Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of all economic activity in the country.
For November, consumer assessments of current conditions pushed the present situation component of the index up more than 11 points to 38.3.
The proportion of consumers responding to the surveys who called business conditions “good” rose more than two points to 13.3 percent, while the share of consumers who called conditions “bad” fell more than five points to 38.2 percent.
The share of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” advanced more than two points to 5.8 percent, while the proportion of those who called jobs “hard to get” retreated nearly five points to 42.1 percent.
A more upbeat outlook drove up the expectations component of the CCI almost 18 points to 67.8.
The proportion of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose more than three points to 13.6 percent, while the share of consumers who anticipate worsening conditions fell more than five points to 15.8 percent.
The share of consumers who believe more jobs will become available in the months ahead climbed more than two points to 12.9 percent, while the proportion of those expecting fewer jobs fell more than three points to 24.1 percent.
The share of consumers who expect their incomes to increase jumped nearly four points to 14.9 percent.