The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased in December, inched further downward in January and remains at a historic low of 37.7 (1985=100), down from (an upwardly revised) 38.6 in December, writes RetailerDaily.
The Present Situation Index declined slightly to 29.9 from 30.2 in December. The Expectations Index decreased to 43.0 from 44.2 last month.
“The Consumer Confidence Index continues to hover at all-time lows (it began in 1967) and it appears that consumers have begun the New Year with the same degree of pessimism that they exhibited in the final months of 2008,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The minor change in the Present Situation Index suggests that economic conditions did not deteriorate significantly further in January but, on the other hand, they did not improve either.
“Looking ahead, consumers remain quite pessimistic about the state of the economy and about their earnings. And, until we begin to see considerable improvements in the Expectations Index, we can’t say that the worst of times are behind us.”
Additional findings from the January Consumer Confidence Survey:
- Consumers’ assessment of overall current conditions remains pessimistic. Those saying business conditions are “bad” increased to 47.9% from 45.8% in Dec., while those saying business conditions are “good” declined to 6.4% from 7.7%.
- Consumers’ assessment of the labor market, however, was slightly more positive. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 41.1% from 41.5% in Dec., while those stating jobs are “plentiful” edged up to 7.2% from 6.5%.
- Consumers’ short-term outlook remains quite pessimistic. Those expecting business conditions to worsen over the next six months decreased slightly to 31.1% from 32.9%, while those anticipating conditions to improve remained relatively unchanged at 13.3% in January, compared with 13.4% in December.
- The job outlook remains somewhat mixed. The percentage of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead decreased to 36.7% from 40.6%, while those expecting more jobs edged down to 9.4% from 9.8%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes declined to 10.0% from 12.7%.
About the data: The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 US households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. The cutoff date for January’s preliminary results was January 21.