Consumer Confidence Shows Signs Of Recovery
Consumer confidence rebounded in December 2015, after easing moderately in November. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index stood at 96.5 last month, up from 92.6 in November. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.
“Consumer confidence improved in December, following a moderate decrease in November,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “As 2015 draws to a close, consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market. Looking ahead to 2016, consumers are expecting little change in both business conditions and the labor market. Expectations regarding their financial outlook are mixed, but the optimists continue to outweigh the pessimists.”
The survey found that consumers’ perceptions of current conditions were mixed in December. While the percent of consumers saying business conditions were “good” rose 2.3 points from November’s reading to 27.3 percent, those describing them as “bad” also grew, from 16.9 percent to 19.8 percent. Short-term consumer optimism on the outlook was also mixed in December. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 15.2 percent from November’s 15.7 percent, and those predicting business conditions to worsen increased to 11 percent from 10.6 percent.
Consumers’ outlook on the labor market was more positive. The proportion claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased from 21.0 percent in November to 24.1 percent in December, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 24.7 percent from 25.8 percent during the same period. Consumer optimism for the labor market in the months ahead was also positive. Those anticipating more jobs increased to 12.9 percent from 12 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 18.5 percent to 16.6 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 17.3 percent to 16.3 percent; and the proportion expecting a reduction in income decreased from 11.8 percent to 9.7 percent.