Consumer Confidence Declines Again.
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in October, fell again in November. The Index now stands at 133.5 (1985=100), down from 135.8. The Expectations Index also declined, from 108.4 to 103.4. The Present Situation Index, however, increased from 176.8 to 178.7.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by NFO Research, Inc., an NFO Worldwide Company and member of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG).
In November, consumers were somewhat more positive about current conditions than in October. The percentage of respondents that felt current business conditions were "good" declined to 42.1 percent from 43.4 percent. However, those rating conditions as "bad" fell to 8.8 percent from 9.7 percent. Consumers claiming jobs were "hard to get" declined to 11.4 percent from 12.0 percent in October.
Consumers, however, were considerably less optimistic about the outlook six months hence. The percentage of respondents expecting an improvement m business conditions fell to 15.1 percent in November from 16.9 percent in October. The proportion anticipating conditions to worsen rose to 7.5 percent from 7.2 percent. The employment outlook was also less favorable. Currently, 15.0 percent of consumers expect more jobs to become available, down from 18.6 percent. Income prospects, however, were more optimistic than in the prior survey. Currently, 27.6 percent of respondents anticipate an increase in their income, up from 24.6 percent.
Although the overall Index declined, it is important to note that both components did not. While the decline in the Expectations Index may well be related to the unresolved election, the Present Situation Index posted an increase suggesting that consumers do not foresee an end to economic growth. Thus, the outlook for the holiday season remains upbeat.