Economy Watch: More Indications of Increased Consumer Confidence

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased for the month of December, indicating Americans are feeling better about the economy—at least for now.

retailOn the heels of the University of Michigan reporting late last week that consumer sentiment was trending positive in November, the Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index was likewise up this month. The indexes have somewhat different methodologies, but the results point toward the same thing: Americans are feeling better about the economy—at least for now.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased considerably in November, posted another gain in December. The Index now stands at 113.7 (1985 = 100), up from 109.4 in November. The board’s Expectations Index increased sharply from 94.4 to 105.5, but its Present Situation Index decreased from 132.0 last month to 126.1.

The post-election surge in optimism about the economy, jobs and income prospects, as well as stock prices, which reached a 13-year high, was most pronounced among older consumers, according to Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, which declined, still suggests that economic growth continued through the final months of 2016,” she noted. “Looking ahead to 2017, consumers’ continued optimism will depend on whether or not their expectations are realized.”

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a provider of information and analytics about what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the results of the current index was Dec. 15.