US consumer confidence increased for second successive month

US consumer confidence, i.e. the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, now stands at 80.7, compared to 77.5 in December 2013, the second consecutive monthly increase, says a new report.

The Expectations Index also rose, from 79 in December to 81.8 this month (up to January 16th).

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

“Consumer confidence advanced in January for the second consecutive month. Consumers’ assessment of the present situation continues to improve, with both business con

ditions 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 perceive the overall current conditions as more positive than in the past. Respondents reporting “good” business conditions rose to 21.5% in January from 20.1% in December, while those reporting “bad” conditions fell from 23.2% to 22.8%.

There has also been a more positive appraisal of the job market, with 12.7% saying jobs are more “plentiful” now, compared to 11.9% last month. The percentage of people saying jobs are currently “hard to get” fell slightly to 32.6% from 32.9%.

Consumers’ expectations

After improving steeply in December 2013, consumer expectations increased again this month. While the percentage of people expecting business conditions to get better was 17.4%, the same as in December, those expecting worsening business conditions fell from 13.9% to 12.1%.

There was a mixed response among consumers regarding the labor market:

  • 15.4% expect more job vacancies in the months ahead, a fall from December’s 17.1%.
  • However, 18.3% expect fewer job vacancies in the months ahead, compared to 19.4% in December.
  • 15.8% of consumers expect their wages to rise, compared to 13.9% last month.
  • 13.6% expect wages to fall, compared to 14.3% last month.