Consumer Confidence Gains Again in January

Conference BoardNEW YORK-For the second month in a row the consumer confidence index increased, gaining 3.2 points to 80.7, according to The Conference Board, which compiles the monthly indicator from a survey of consumers conducted by Nielsen.

The improvement in the overall indicator included increases in both the present situation and expectations indexes, its two main components. The present situation index picked up 3.8 points to 79.1, while the expectations index was up 2.8 points to 81.8.

Lynn Franco, The Conference Board’s director of economic indicators, said, “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.”

In the Nielsen survey, a greater percentage of the responding consumers rated current business conditions as good, while an increased percentage of consumers characterized jobs as “plentiful.” Looking ahead, the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve remained unchanged while the percentage of those expecting business conditions to worsen declined. The percentages of consumers expecting more jobs and fewer jobs six months down the road both declined.

“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,” Franco said.