NEW YORK–After two consecutive months of significant gains, the consumer confidence index ebbed slightly in January to 61.1, 3.7 points off its December reading.
The biggest factor in the decline, according to The Conference Board, which compiles the monthly indicator, was an 8.1-point drop in the present situations index to 38.4. The other of the two component indexes, expectations, edged down 0.8 point to 76.2.
The consumers who responded to the board’s monthly survey gave less positive opinions about the current state of business and the jobs market than they had in December. Looking down the road, the participating consumers were more positive about employment but less so about business conditions and their income prospects.
Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, said, “Recent increases in gasoline prices may have consumers feeling a little less confident this month.” Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor-market conditions slipped back to November levels, but the percentages of those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased, Franco said.