News & Media

U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops a Bit in Nov. to 125.5

While American attitudes have declined for four months in a row, they remain high overall. Nov.’s current outlook dropped but future expectations rose.

BOSTON – The November Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased slightly for the second month in a row. It now stands at 125.5, down from 126.1 in October.

The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased from 173.5 to 166.9.

The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 94.5 last month to 97.9 this month.

“Consumer confidence declined for a fourth consecutive month, driven by a softening in consumers’ assessment of current business and employment conditions,” says Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

“The decline in the Present Situation Index suggests that economic growth in the final quarter of 2019 will remain weak. However, consumers’ short-term expectations improved modestly, and growth in early 2020 is likely to remain at around 2%. Overall, confidence levels are still high and should support solid spending during this holiday season.”

Current conditions: Consumers’ appraisal of current-day conditions was less favorable in November. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” rose slightly from 39.7% to 40.2%, but those claiming business conditions are “bad” also increased, from 11.0% to 13.8%.

Consumers’ assessment of the job market was less favorable than last month. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 47.7% to 44.8%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased from 11.6% to 12.7%.

Future expectations: Consumers were moderately more optimistic. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased slightly from 18.7% to 17.2%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased slightly, from 11.5% to 12.1%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 16.9% to 15.7%, but those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased, from 18.0% to 13.2%.

Regarding short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement edged up from 21.4% to 21.8%, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 6.9% to 6.2%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a probability-design random sample ad conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Nov. 15.

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