Consumer Confidence Eroded in January

(CN) – Consumer confidence declined in January after reaching a 15-year high in December, the Conference Board announced Tuesday.

The 101-year-old Conference Board is an independent business research group. Its monthly consumer confidence survey, based on a random sample, is conducted by Nielsen.

The cutoff date for this month’s preliminary results was January 19. President Donald Trump was inaugurated the following day.

According to the Conference Board, its consumer confidence index dropped to 111.8 in January from a December reading of 113.3, which had been the highest since August 2001.

The index measures consumers’ assessment of current conditions, which improved in January, and their expectations for the future, which fell.

“The decline in confidence was driven solely by a less optimistic outlook for business conditions, jobs, and especially consumers’ income prospects,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, improved in January. Despite the retreat in confidence, consumers remain confident that the economy will continue to expand in the coming months,” Franco said.

The index found consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in January.

Those saying business conditions are “good” increased slightly from 28.6 percent to 29.3 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 17.8 percent to 16.1 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive than last month. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 26.0 percent to 27.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 22.7 percent to 21.5 percent.

Consumers’ short-term outlook, which had increased considerably last month, declined in January, the index found.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 24.7 percent to 23.1 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 8.9 percent to 10.7 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was somewhat mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 21.7 percent to 19.8 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs was virtually unchanged at 14.0 percent. The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 21.5 percent to 18.0 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease rose from 8.6 percent to 9.6 percent.

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