Consumer confidence jumps in January

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Consumer confidence rose sharply in January, the second consecutive monthly increase, according to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index released on Wednesday. It now is at its highest level in more than seven years.

The index now stands at 102.9 (1985=100), up from 93.1 in December. The Present Situation Index rose to 112.6 from 99.9, while the Expectations Index increased to 96.4 from 88.5 in December, the Conference Board said in its report.

The monthlyConsumer 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 wasJanuary 15.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, "Consumer confidence rose sharply in January, and is now at its highest level sinceAugust 2007(when the Index reached 105.6). A more positive assessment of current business and labor market conditions contributed to the improvement in consumers' view of the present situation. Consumers also expressed a considerably higher degree of optimism regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market, as well as their earnings."

Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions was considerably more favorable in January than in December. Those saying business conditions are "good" increased from 24.7 percent to 28.1 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" decreased from 18.9 percent to 16.8 percent.

Consumers were also much more positive in their assessment of the job market. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" increased from 17.2 percent to 20.5 percent. Those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased from 27.3 percent to 25.7 percent.

Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook also improved in January. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months rose from 17.8 percent to 18.4 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 9.9 percent to 7.7 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also more optimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased from 14.6 percent to 16.7 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 16.5 percent to 15.0 percent.

The proportion of consumers expecting growth in their incomes improved from 16.2 percent to 20.0 percent. However, the proportion expecting a decrease increased marginally, from 10.2 percent to 11.3 percent.

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society.

 

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