US consumer confidence jumps in Dec on economic, job optimism

31 December 2013 15:31 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US consumer confidence rebounded sharply in December, the Conference Board said on Tuesday, with survey respondents expressing optimism about future economic and job prospects.

The board, a 96-year-old business analysis firm in New York City, said that its closely watched consumer confidence index (CCI) jumped to 78.1 this month from 72.0 in November.

The CCI measures current consumer confidence against a baseline level set at 100 in 1985.

“Looking ahead, consumers expressed a greater degree of confidence in future economic and job prospects, but were moderately more pessimistic about their earning prospects,” said Lynn Franco, the board’s director of economic indicators.

“Despite the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than when the year began,” Franco added.

The percentage of consumers whose appraisal of business conditions are “good” edged down in December to 19.6% from 20.4%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased to 22.6% from 24.6%.

Some 12.2% of survey respondents said jobs are “plentiful” – up from 12.0% in November – while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 32.5% from 34.1%.

Consumer sentiment is a crucial indicator for the US economy because household spending accounts for as much as 70% of the nation’s commercial activity and production.

By Jeremy Pafford