Taking the pulse of consumers


The Conference Board finds that consumer confidence slipped in January compared to December, but not by much. Gallup, on the other hand, finds that it has risen since then but still is nothing to write home about. The Conference Board’s general Index moved from 38.6 to 37.7, the Present Situation index went from 30.2 to 29.9 and the Expectation index went from 44.2 to 43.0. C.B.’s Lynn Franco says the numbers are hovering around record lows since the company began tracking confidence in 1967.

Gallup, meanwhile, said its Standard of Living Index was at a miniscule 30 in December, but has been around 40 throughout most of January (excepting a burst of inaugural optimism that pushed the number all the way up to 55). However, it says the modest uptick has not translated yet into retail activity.

RBR/TVBR observation: Consumers really want this overcast economic weather report to blow over – there will be a lot of impetus from consumers and businesses alike to build on any positive movement in economic conditions. And while the numbers reported above are not great, at least they appear to be stabilizing.