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Consumer confidence increases in January

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Consumer confidence increases in January

Consumers apparently undaunted by slowing economy and stock market woes

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in December, improved 1.9% in January, with consumers apparently shrugging off increasing signs of a slowing economy and turmoil in the financial markets.

"Consumer confidence improved slightly in January, following an increase in December," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions held steady, while their expectations for the next six months improved moderately. For now, consumers do not foresee the volatility in financial markets as having a negative impact on the economy."

Consumers' appraisal of current conditions was relatively flat in January. The percentage saying business conditions are "good" was virtually unchanged at 27.2%, while those saying business conditions are "bad" declined slightly from 18.9% to 18.5%. Consumers' assessment of the labor market was modestly more positive. The proportion claiming jobs are "plentiful" decreased from 24.2% to 22.8%, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" declined to 23.4% from 24.5%.

"Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook improved somewhat in January."

Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook improved somewhat in January. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months rose from 14.5% to 16.2%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen edged down from 10.8% to 10.3%.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also slightly more optimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased from 12.4% to 13.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased slightly from 16.8% to 16.5%.

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