Conference Board sees uptick in consumer confidence


Reports on both consumer and CEO confidence have been decidedly on the optimistic side of late, and the latest from the Conference Board is no exception. In fact, after registering a dip in the consumer level in December, CB’s Consumer Confidence Survey bounced back strong in January.

In December, the benchmark confidence number stood at 53.3, and surged all the way to 60.6. The Present Situation Index picked up too – it stands at a lackluster 31.0, but that’s a far sight better than December’s bleak reading of 24.9.

Looking into the future, Expectations are at 80.3, up eight points from December’s 72.3 figure.

CB’s Lynn Franco noted, “Consumers have begun the year in better spirits. As a result, the Index is now near levels not seen since last spring (May 2010, Index 62.7).  Consumers rated business and labor market conditions more favorably and expressed greater confidence that the economy will continue to expand and generate more jobs in the months ahead.  Income expectations are also more positive. Although pessimists still outnumber optimists, the gap has narrowed.”

Only 9.8% think business conditions are good at the moment, but that’s an improvement over the 7.7% that thought so in December. The number calling conditions bad was about flat at 40.4%. In the next six months, 19.0% expect conditions to improve against only 11.3% who expect them to slide.

RBR-TVBR observation: We see a lot of optimists working on their bodies in the gym these days – and we know full well many of them will disappear by the beginning of March. Meanwhile, are the surveys seeing a rise in consumer confidence, such as the latest from the Conference Board, tapping into the same irrational optimism? We don’t know, but all the surveys we’ve seen lately have been pointing up.