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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Consumer Confidence Index Increases


The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had dipped in December, increased in January. The Index now stands at 60.6 (1985=100), up from 53.3 in December. The Present Situation Index improved to 31.0 from 24.9. The Expectations Index increased to 80.3 from 72.3 last month.

“Consumers have begun the year in better spirits. As a result, the index is now near levels not seen since last spring (May 2010, Index 62.7),” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers rated business and labor market conditions more favorably and expressed greater confidence that the economy will continue to expand and generate more jobs in the months ahead. Income expectations are also more positive. Although pessimists still outnumber optimists, the gap has narrowed.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more positive in January. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased to 9.8 percent from 7.7 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” was virtually unchanged at 40.4 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was also more upbeat than last month. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” rose to 5.2 percent from 4.2 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined to 43.4 percent from 46 percent.

Consumers’ short-term outlook was more optimistic than in December. Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions over the next six months increased to 19 percent from 16.8 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen decreased to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent. Consumers were also more optimistic about the job market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 16 percent from 14.2 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs declined to 17.5 percent from 19.2 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes rose to 11.4 percent from 9.9 percent.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS, a custom research company.

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