Solid Recovery Seen in Consumer Confidence

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The Conference Board has released its January reading of consumer confidence, showing a gain after dipping in December. Consumer confidence rose to 125.4 in January from 123.1 in December. The cutoff date for the preliminary survey results was January 18.

Dow Jones had a consensus estimate of just 123.0, and the Reuters consensus estimate was 123.1.

It turns out that consumers are looking for a stronger tomorrow as well. The Conference Board showed that the Present Situation Index decreased to 155.3 in January from 156.5 in December. The Expectations Index grew handily, rising to 105.5 in January from 100.8 in December.

According to Tuesday’s report, the current conditions figure was slightly less positive in December and the assessment of business conditions was mixed. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also mixed. Consumer optimism for the near-term outlook improved in January after a sharp decline in December. Consumers were also less negative for the job market.

Tuesday’s report also broke these general comments down statistically, as follows:

  • The percentage saying business conditions are “good” decreased slightly from 35.8 percent to 34.9 percent.
  • Those saying business conditions are “bad” increased slightly, from 11.7 percent to 12.7 percent.
  • The percentage of consumers claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased from 36.3 percent to 37.6 percent.
  • Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased marginally, from 16.0 percent to 16.4 percent.
  • The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions to improve over the next six months increased marginally, from 21.6 percent to 22.0 percent.
  • Those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 9.0 percent to 9.8 percent.
  • The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 19.0 percent.
  • Those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 15.9 percent to 11.8 percent.
    The percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in short-term income prospects decreased from 22.7 percent to 20.4 percent.
  • The proportion expecting a decrease in short-term income prospects also declined, from 9.0 percent to 7.7 percent.

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

Consumer confidence improved in January after declining in December. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions decreased slightly, but remains at historically strong levels. Expectations improved, though consumers were somewhat ambivalent about their income prospects over the coming months, perhaps the result of some uncertainty regarding the impact of the tax plan. Overall, however, consumers remain quite confident that the solid pace of growth seen in late 2017 will continue into 2018.