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Consumer Confidence Gains Again In January

Consumer confidence increased in January again, following an uptick in December of 2013, according the Consumer Confidence Index, conducted for the Conference Board by Nielsen. The index now stands at 80.7, up from 77.5 in December. The present situation index also increased this month, to 79.1 from 75.3. The expectations index rose to 81.8 from 79.0 in December.

“Consumer confidence advanced in January for the second consecutive month,” said Lynn Franco, director/economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of the present situation continues to improve, with both business conditions and the job market rated more favorably. Looking ahead six months, consumers expect the economy and their earnings to improve, but were somewhat mixed regarding the outlook for jobs. All in all, confidence appears to be back on track and rising expectations suggest the economy may pick up some momentum in the months ahead.”

Consumers’ assessment of overall present-day conditions continues to improve. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 21.5% from 20.2%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” edged down to 22.8% from 23.2%. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also more positive. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” ticked up to 12.7% from 11.9%, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly to 32.6% from 32.9%.

Consumers’ expectations, which had improved sharply in December, increased again in January. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months remained unchanged at 17.4%, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen decreased to 12.1% from 13.9%. Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 15.4% from 17.1%. However, those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 18.3% from 19.4%. The number of consumers expecting their incomes to increase rose to 15.8% from 13.9%, while those anticipating a decrease in their incomes declined to 13.6% from 14.3%.

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