The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in December, fell further in January. The index now stands at 58.6 (1985=100), down from 66.7 in December. The Expectations Index declined to 59.5 from 68.1. The Present Situation Index decreased to 57.3 from 64.6 last month. 

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions deteriorated in January. Those claiming business conditions are “good” declined to 16.7% from 17.2%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” increased to 27.4% from 26.3%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market has also grown more negative. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” declined to 8.6% from 10.8%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased to 37.7% from 36.1%. 

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook continued to deteriorate in January. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined to 15.4% from 18.1%. However, those expecting business conditions to worsen declined slightly to 20.6% from 21.1%. 
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was more pessimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead declined to 14.3% from 17.9%, while those expecting fewer jobs remained virtually unchanged at 27.0%.

The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to decline rose to 22.9% from 19.1%, while those anticipating an increase declined to 13.6% from 15.6%.

“Consumer confidence posted another sharp decline in January, erasing all of the gains made through 2012,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers are more pessimistic about the economic outlook and, in particular, their financial situation. The increase in the payroll tax has undoubtedly dampened consumers’ spirits and it may take a while for confidence to rebound and consumers to recover from their initial paycheck shock.” 

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.

The cutoff date for the preliminary results was January 17.