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Consumer confidence took a healthy leap in November

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The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined in October, increased significantly in November, which should be welcome news for retailers as the holiday shopping season get into full gear.

Most of the survey for November was conducted before Donald Trump won the presidential election, but experts said it was not likely the election had much impact on consumer confidence,

The Index now stands at 107.1 (1985=100), up from 100.8 in October. The Present Situation Index increased from 123.1 to 130.3, while the Expectations Index improved from 86.0 last month to 91.7.

"Consumer confidence improved in November after a moderate decline in October, and is once again at pre-recession levels," said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. The Index stood at 111.9 in July 2007.

"A more favorable assessment of current conditions coupled with a more optimistic short-term outlook helped boost confidence. And while the majority of consumers were surveyed before the presidential election, it appears from the small sample of post-election responses that consumers' optimism was not impacted by the outcome. With the holiday season upon us, a more confident consumer should be welcome news for retailers," Franco said. 

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Nov. 15.

Consumers' assessment of current conditions improved in November. The percentage saying business conditions are "good" improved from 26.5 percent to 29.2 percent, while those saying business conditions are "bad" fell from 17.3 percent to 14.8 percent. Consumers' appraisal of the labor market was moderately more positive than last month. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are "plentiful" increased from 25.3 percent to 26.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" was unchanged at 21.7 percent.

Consumers' short-term outlook, on balance, was more optimistic in November. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 16.4 percent to 15.3 percent; however those expecting business conditions to worsen also decreased, from 11.8 percent to 10.0 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was likewise somewhat mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 14.5 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs fell from 16.6 percent to 13.8 percent. The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase—17.5 percent—was little changed from last month, while the proportion expecting a drop in income fell moderately, from 10.2 percent to 9.0 percent.

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index®, on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Its mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org