Consumers may have ended the year on a shopping spree as retail data suggests a robust holiday season, but the confidence of shoppers doesn’t seem as good in the near-term outlook.
The Conference Board today disclosed its latest Consumer Confidence Index for the year, and the Index slipped to 122.1 from 128.6 last month. The Present Situation Index inched up to 156.6 from 154.9, but the Expectations Index fell to 99.1 from 111.0 in November.
Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumer confidence retreated in December after reaching a 17-year high in November.” She attributed the decline to a slightly less optimistic outlook for business and job prospects in the coming months.
“Despite the decline in confidence, consumers’ expectations remain at historically strong levels, suggesting economic growth will continue well into 2018,” Franco concluded.
For present-day conditions, those who said business conditions were good inched up slightly to 35.2 percent from 35 percent.
As for the outlook six months out, consumers who said business conditions would improve fell to 20.2 percent from 23.1 percent, and those who expect business conditions to worsen increased to 9.2 percent from 6.7 percent.
Their outlook about the job market was also less optimistic. Those who said they expect more jobs ahead fell to 18.4 percent from 21.3 percent, while the number of respondents who expect fewer jobs rose to 16.3 percent from 12.1 percent.
The monthly survey is based on a probability-design random sample conducted for The Conference Board by information and analytics firm Nielsen. The cutoff date for preliminary results was Dec. 15.