WASHINGTON — Consumer confidence held steady in November after an October dip, spelling good news for retailers, according to the Conference Board’s latest survey of consumer sentiment released Tuesday,
The confidence level in November stands at 107.3, the same as the revised figure for October, which had dropped six points from the previous month. While the index has wavered a bit in recent months, it has essentially risen since January, mirroring growth in the economy. In November 1995, the index measured 101.6.
“This strong level of confidence, coupled with low unemployment, modest inflationary pressures and continuing wage growth, should translate into healthy holiday sales in coming weeks,” said Lynn Franco, associate director of the New York-based Board’s Consumer Research Center.
While the index remained steady, components of it did shift. The index measuring consumer feelings about their present situation rose 6 points to 131, while the “Expectations Index” dipped 4 points to 91.4. That’s a sign that consumers are reacting to the slightly slowing economy, said Robert Barr, assistant economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“People are feeling OK about now, but the survey registers a little more anxiety about the months ahead,” Barr said. “It’s just that people are scaling back their expectations a little bit.”
The survey of 5,000 households showed consumers are more confident about current business conditions. Nearly 29 percent said conditions are “good,” up from 27 percent in October. Only 13 percent said conditions are “bad,” down from nearly 16 percent in October.
Consumers are less optimistic, though, about the next six months than they were in October. Only 14 percent expect better business conditions ahead, down from 16 percent in October. Less than 13 percent anticipate more jobs during the next six months, down from 15 percent last month.