Consumer Confidence Hits 17-Year High Rather Than an Expected Drop

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The Conference Board has released its latest view on consumer confidence, showing that it remains at a 17-year high. November’s index for confidence rose to 129.5 in November from 126.2 in October. Dow Jones and Reuters were both calling for an expected drop to 124.0.

Gains were seen in both the current view and in the future. The Present Situation Index increased from 152.0 in October to 153.9 in November. The Expectations Index rose from 109.0 in October to 113.3 in November.

While this report was released on November 28, the Conference Board and Nielsen showed that the cutoff date for the preliminary results was November 14.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved moderately in November, and the optimism about the short-term outlook was also more favorable. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also improved, and it was also shown that the outlook for the job market was more upbeat in November than in October. The subindex readings and data were shown as follows:

  • The percentage saying business conditions are “good” increased from 34.4% to 34.9%.
  • Those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 13.5% to 12.7%.
  • Those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased from 36.7% to 37.1%.
  • Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly, from 17.1% to 16.9%.
  • The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased slightly, from 22.1% to 22.4%.
  • The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 7.0% to 6.5%.
  • The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.7% to 22.6%.
  • Those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 11.6% to 11.0%.
  • Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement decreased marginally, from 20.3% to 20.1%.
  • The proportion expecting a decrease in short-term income prospects was shown to be virtually unchanged at 7.6%.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said:

Consumer confidence increased for a fifth consecutive month and remains at a 17-year high. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved moderately, while their expectations regarding the short-term outlook improved more so, driven primarily by optimism of further improvements in the labor market. Consumers are entering the holiday season in very high spirits and foresee the economy expanding at a healthy pace into the early months of 2018.

Most eyes may be on Jerome Powell’s testimony to get confirmed as chair of the Federal Reserve. That being said, the Dow and S&P 500 hit fresh all-time highs on Tuesday. On last look, the Dow was up 76 points at 23,657 and the S&P 500 was up almost eight points to 2,609.