Consumer confidence edges upward


The much-watched Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index turned slightly upward after having suffered a loss in October. Still, almost nobody believes we are in a good situation. With conditions in 1985 equal to 100, the November CCI came in at 49.5 – not great, but better than October’s 48.7.

The Present Situation Index barely budged, dropping from 21.1 to 21.0; but there was some positive movement on the Expectations Index, which went from 67.0 to 68.5.

Conference Board’s Lynn Franco said, “Consumer Confidence posted a slight gain in November. The Present Situation Index, however, was virtually unchanged and remains at levels not seen in 26 years (Index 17.5, Feb. 1983). The moderate improvement in the short-term outlook was the result of a decrease in the percent of consumers expecting business and labor market conditions to worsen, as opposed to an increase in the percent of consumers expecting conditions to improve. Income expectations remain very pessimistic and consumers are entering the holiday season in a very frugal mood.”

Only 8.1% of those surveyed believe business conditions are good right now, but that’s still better than October’s 7.8%. And while 45.7% think conditions are bad, that number is also better than October’s 46.7%.
Those expecting conditions to improve during the next six months stood at 20%, compared to 15.1% who expect things to get worse.

Consumers don’t expect many more jobs to be created, but at least they also don’t expect too many more to be cut. 15.2% see imminent increases in the workforce, and 23.1% are expecting further reductions. Both numbers are improvements over October, when they were 16.8% and 26.1% respectively.