Consumer confidence improves in December

The Consumer Confidence Index improved nearly 4 points to 96.5 in December, up from the moderate decline to 92.6 in November. The Present Situation Index rose from 110.9 to 115.3 in December and the Expectations Index increased from 80.4 to 83.9.

“As 2015 draws to a close, consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, which releases the index. “Looking ahead to 2016, consumers are expecting little change in both business conditions and the labor market. Expectations regarding their financial outlook are mixed, but the optimists continue to outweigh the pessimists.”

Consumers who say business conditions are “good” increased from 25.0 percent to 27.3; however, those saying business conditions are “bad” also increase from 16.9 percent to 19.8 percent. Consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased slightly from 15.7 percent to 15.2 percent; however, those expecting business conditions to worsen increased slightly from 10.6 percent to 11.0 percent.

Consumers’ opinions on the labor market were more optimistic. The proportion of consumers claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased from 21.0 percent to 24.1 percent and those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 25.8 to 24.7 percent. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased slightly from 12.0 percent to 12.9 percent and those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 18.5 percent to 16.6 percent.

The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 17.3 percent to 16.3 percent; however, the proportion expecting an income reduction also decreased from 11.8 percent to 9.7 percent.

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