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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Confidence Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  January 26, 2016

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index during January rose 1.9% to 98.1 following a 4.0% rise in December to 96.3, revised from 96.5. Consensus expectations had been for a reading of 96.1, according to the Action Economics Forecast Survey. An improved expectations reading led last month's increase with a 3.5% rise, down 11.4% y/y. The present situations figure was unchanged m/m (2.2% y/y) following a 5.0% December gain.

The share of consumers believing business conditions are good held fairly steady at 27.2%, and the share believing conditions are bad eased to 18.5%. The assessment of the job market deteriorated slightly as the number believing that jobs are plentiful fell to 22.4% but remained in the range of the last six months. Jobs were viewed as hard to get by a lessened 23.4%, down from the 2011 high of 49.4%.

Expectations that business conditions would get better nudged up to 16.2% of respondents while 10.3% expected a worsening. More jobs were expected by a still low 13.2%, while 16.5% expected fewer jobs. Income was expected to increase by 18.1%; 10.8% expected less.

The inflation rate was projected to fall to 4.8%, the lowest figure since early-2007. Interest rates were expected to rise by a sharply increased 72.4% of respondents, up from 56.6% one year ago.

A sharply higher 6.6% of respondents planned to buy a home within six months, up from 4.4% in August. Major appliance buying was scheduled by 52.4% of respondents, the highest level since July 2010.

Consumer confidence by age group improved to the highest level since August for those aged 55 and older. For those under aged 35 it rose to the highest level since September. Confidence amongst individuals aged 35-54 eased m/m and remained down sharply from the September high.

The Consumer Confidence data is available in Haver's CBDB database. The total indexes appear in USECON, and the market expectations are in AS1REPNA.

Conference Board (SA, 1985=100) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Consumer Confidence Index 98.1 96.3 92.6 -5.5 98.0 86.9 73.2
  Present Situation 116.4 116.4 110.9 2.2 111.6 87.4 67.6
  Expectations 85.9 83.0 80.4 -11.4 88.9 86.6 77.0
Consumer Confidence By Age Group
  Under 35 Years 123.8 120.6 106.1 -1.7 116.5 106.6 93.1
  Aged 35-54 Years 100.3 100.6 98.5 -3.2 103.8 92.4 76.8
  Over 55 Years 84.0 79.8 78.5 -7.8 84.0 73.8 61.2
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