US Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in December

After slipping in November to 72, the US Consumer Confidence Index improved in December to 78.1 (1985=100), says the Conference Board.

The Expectations Index rose from 71.1 in November to 79.4 in December and the Present Situation Index increased to 7.62 from 73.5.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey is carried out by Nielsen, a global data and analytics provider. The preliminary results for December were up to the 17th day of the month.

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

“Consumer confidence rebounded in December and is now close to pre-government shutdown levels (September 2013, 80.2). Sentiment regarding current conditions increased to a 5 ½ year high (April 2008, 81.9), with consumers attributing the improvement to more favorable economic and labor market conditions.”

“Looking ahead, consumers expressed a greater degree of confidence in future economic and job prospects, but were moderately more pessimistic about their earning prospects. Despite the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than when the year began.”

US consumers believe conditions are improving

The authors of the report say US consumers see improving conditions in their country. Although the percentage of respondents who claim business conditions are “good” fell to 19.6% from 20.4%, those perceiving conditions as “bad” fell more steeply, to 22.6% from 24.6%.

Respondents also felt more positive about the US job market. Those who saw employment prospects as “plentiful” edged up to 12.2% from 12%, while consumers saying that jobs are “hard to get” fell to 32.5% from 34.1%.

Consumers’ expectations improved in December, after worsening in November. The percentage of respondents expecting business conditions to get better over the next six months rose to 17.2% from 16.7%, compared to 14% who thought things will get worse (16.1% the month before).

People anticipating more jobs during the coming months rose sharply from 13.1% to 17.1%, compared to 19% predicting worsening job prospects (21.4% during the previous month).

Fewer consumers (13.9%) expected their incomes to rise during the next few months compared to the previous month (15.3%). Fourteen percent of respondents in December thought their incomes would fall, compared to 15.5% in November.