February 2, 2012

Consumer Confidence is at an eight-month high

By Andrew Scoggin, HousingWire, 12/27/2011

Consumer confidence jumped nearly 10 points to a December reading of 64.5, according to the The Conference Board survey. The monthly index rose from 55.2 in November, marking the second month of increases after six months of declines. The December consumer confidence reading is back at levels last seen in April when the index sat at 66, though considerably lower than the 100 score benchmarked in 1985. Lynn Franco, director of the board's consumer research, said in a release that it's too soon to tell whether the index increase shows a shift in attitude or is just a rebound.

Consumers' assessment of current conditions, short-term outlook and the job market all improved in December. About 16.6% of respondents said the current market is good, up from 13.9% in November. Those who said conditions are bad declined to 33.9% from 38%. More consumers expected business conditions to improve over the next six months as well, increasing to 16.7% from 13.9%. That's compared to a decrease to 13.4% from 16.1% in those predicting economic decline. Positive job outlook rose to 13.3% from 12.4%, while respondents in the negative declined to 20.2% from 23.8%.

The consumer confidence index is a random sample completed for the board by market research firm Nielsen. The cutoff date for survey results was Dec. 14.