The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in November, improved in December. The index now stands at 92.6 (1985=100), up from 91.0 in November. The Present Situation Index rose to 98.6 from 93.7, while the Expectations Index decreased to 88.5 from 89.3 in November.
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was considerably more favorable in December. Those saying business conditions are “good” was unchanged at 24.8%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 21.8% to 19.6%. Consumers were also more positive in their assessment of the job market, with the proportion stating jobs are “plentiful” increasing from 16.2% to 17.1%, and those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreasing from 28.7% to 27.7%.
Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook eased moderately in December. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months edged down from 18.3% to 18.0%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen declined slightly from 10.4% to 10.1%.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was marginally less optimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 15.5% to 14.7%, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 16.1% to 16.9%. The proportion of consumers expecting growth in their incomes declined moderately from 16.9% to 16.4%; however the proportion expecting a decrease also declined, from 11.0% to 10.0%.
“Consumer confidence rebounded modestly in December, propelled by a considerably more favorable assessment of current economic and labor market conditions,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “As a result, the Present Situation Index is now at its highest level since February 2008 (Index, 104.0). Consumers were moderately less optimistic about the short-term outlook in December, but even so, they are more confident at year-end than they were at the beginning of 2014.”
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 December 16.