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Consumer Confidence Rises Again in Jan.

The index tracking attitudes about the current economy rose the most, from 170.5 to 175.3. But the longer-term outlook also rose to 102.5 from last month’s 100.0.

NEW YORK – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in January, following a moderate increase in December. The Index now stands at 131.6, up from 128.2 (an upward revision) in December.

The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 170.5 to 175.3. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 100.0 last month to 102.5 this month.

“Consumer confidence increased in January following a moderate advance in December, driven primarily by a more positive assessment of the current job market and increased optimism about future job prospects,” says Lynn Franco, senior director, economic indicators, at The Conference Board. “Optimism about the labor market should continue to support confidence in the short-term and, as a result, consumers will continue driving growth and prevent the economy from slowing in early 2020.”

Current conditions: Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in January. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 39.0% to 40.8%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased, from 11.0% to 10.4%.

Consumers’ appraisal of the job market also improved. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 46.5% to 49.0%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined, from 13.0% to 11.6%.

Future conditions: Consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months was virtually unchanged at 18.8%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 8.8% to 8.4%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was more upbeat too. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 15.5% to 17.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.9% to 13.4%.

Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined from 22.7% to 22.0%, while the proportion expecting a decrease was virtually unchanged at 7.7%.

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

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