Consumer Confidence Index Surges in December

consumer confidence index surges in DecemberNEW YORK (AP) - Americans are gaining faith that the economy is on the upswing. The monthly Consumer Confidence Index surged to the highest level since April and is approaching a post-recession peak.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose almost 10 points to 64.5, up from a revised 55.2 in November. Analysts had expected 59. The level is close to the post-recession peak of 72, which the index reached in February.

The surge in December builds on another big increase in November, when the index rose almost 15 points from the month before.

One component of the index that measures how shoppers feel now about the economy, rose to 46.7, up from 38.3 in November. The other barometer, which measures how shoppers feel about the next six months, rose to 76.4, up from 66.4.

Improving confidence is in line with retail reports of a decent holiday shopping season.

Economists watch the confidence numbers closely because consumer spending - including items like health care - accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. Still, the December confidence reading is below the 90 level that indicates an economy on solid footing.

Analysts are cautious about whether the gains are the start of something more sustainable.

"While consumers are ending the year in a somewhat more upbeat mood, it is too soon to tell if this is a rebound from earlier declines or a sustainable shift in attitudes," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

Even with the increase in confidence, shoppers are still nervous about their jobs and the overall economy according to the preliminary results of the survey, which ran Dec. 1-14.

Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" increased to 6.7 percent from 5.6 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 41.8 percent from 43.0 percent. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 13.3 percent from 12.4 percent while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 20.2 percent from 23.8 percent.

That's because while the job market is steadily improving, unemployment - at 8.6 percent - is still high. And housing remains wobbly. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of home prices, also released Tuesday, dropped in October in 19 of the 20 cities it tracks. It was a second straight declining month, further evidence of a bumpy housing recovery.

Heading into the holiday season, store executives were nervous about consumers' willingness to spend. Merchants offered big discounts on holiday merchandise and lured shoppers with expanded hours.

After a record spending spree over Thanksgiving weekend, the season's semi-official start, shoppers retreated for a few weeks. Then stores saw a surge of shopping the week before Christmas as consumers took advantage of better discounts.

The National Retail Federation now expects a 3.8 percent increase in holiday sales, up from its original forecast of 2.8 percent made in September when the economy's recovery looked more uncertain. More data will be released this week that will offer more clues about stores' last-minutes sales surge before Christmas.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Socially Responsible Investing

Invest in companies with a conscience.

View Course »

Introduction to Economic Indicators

Measure the performance of the economy.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

18 Comments

Filter by:
Mike

Same OLD, tired, libtard, LIE! Always with the single digit growth. Real inflation is over 12% and rising. This means we spent more to get LESS! That’s called CONTRACTION to all non kool aid libtards!

January 03 2012 at 5:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BABIN

Just pull C.C. out of the system and let's see ''that confidence''...enough lie in the past more of 30 years from both parties...AMEN....

December 28 2011 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

Are we in N. Korea, how much more BS can be spread. Did the survey only Upper New York, ie, the rich???

December 28 2011 at 12:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Ya here we go aagain with the increase in spending lie again. Yes total spending went up however real inflation was more than double that increase. Which means TOTAL goods and services SOLD went DOWN it just cost more. Your premis is destroyed and you conclusion now has no premise, libtard. Got gold?

December 28 2011 at 11:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Holli, Chaney

Thank you Tea Party.

December 28 2011 at 12:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
donut999

Without some nuts and bolts about how compiled, this survey means nothing, at least to me. Plus, no question geography (economic) is a big factor. In the greater Cincinnati area, many people seem to be spending money just as fast as they can pull it out of their pockets. Local Sam's store is so busy, half the time you can't even find a cart, and have to go out in the parking lot to retrieve one from somebody who has just unloaded. I was tenth or eleventh in line at a local mall last Thursday at 2 pm to buy a $200 gift card. Most of the people in front of me were spending more.

December 27 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
noknrc

What are the consumers confident of? The economy getting worse. How can they continue to say people are spending more with all the other negative reports coming out. Sears/Kmart talking about closing a bunch of stores due to a weal holiday shopping season . I have watched my sales drop each year since 2007 with this year being the worse. They say we are recovering but I had a better year in 2009 then I had this year. Malls were dead the Friday evening and on Saturday.

December 27 2011 at 2:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bonzodog40

The economy will only get worse with europe getting in to recesson !!! The people who filled out this paper are stupid as obama is!!!

December 27 2011 at 2:22 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Fed res dollar printing has increased to keep up with US treasury's need for them as debt buyer of last resort. Euro is doing same for their debt but doesn't hold the luxury as world's res currency. Fed exports it's inflation to the world euro can't & WILL hypor inflate to ZERO. Europ will run to the dollar as others trade for gld/slvr. Even with small demand increase gld/slvr price rise outside the fed's ability to keep suprpressed & dollar will start its final fall, world WILL panic & gld/slvr will BE only reserve currency. World fiat monotary system is collapsing & we face deep depression. Got Gold? China & India does, why's that you figure?

December 27 2011 at 1:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cpo1514

WELL OBAMA SUPPORTER HUFFY POST--- WHICH IS IT... CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SURGES OR HOUSING WORST EVER ? SOUNDS LIKE THE LIBS ARE STILL THE UNEDUCATED BEING LED BY THE UNINFORMED.

December 27 2011 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply