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US consumer confidence rebounds in Jan

[WASHINGTON] US consumer confidence rebounded in January after falling in the prior month as the outlook for the future improved, according to a closely-watched monthly survey released Tuesday.

Sentiment about current conditions declined slightly, but expectations for the next six months improved following the sharp downturn in December, the Conference Board reported.

The consumer confidence index rose to 125.4 in January from 123.1, but still well below November's 128.6 which was the highest since 2000.

Overall "consumers remain quite confident that the solid pace of growth seen in late 2017 will continue into 2018," said Lynn Franco, head of indicators at the Conference Board, which produces the survey.

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"Consumers' assessment of current conditions decreased slightly, but remains at historically strong levels," Mr Franco said.

The present situation index dipped 1.2 points to 155.3, while expectations rose nearly five points to 105.5.

The employment measures showed some improvement, with the "jobs plentiful" measure gaining 1.3 points, even as "jobs hard to get" rose 0.4 point.

Optimism about the outlook six months ahead showed a very slight improvement in those expecting business conditions to improve, but a bigger rise in those who think conditions will be worse.

And even though expectations improved, "consumers were somewhat ambivalent about their income prospects over the coming months, perhaps the result of some uncertainty regarding the impact of the tax plan." Those expecting income to increase in the near term fell to 20.4 per cent from 22.7 per cent, while those who think their income will stay the same rose to 71.9 per cent from 69.3 per cent.

The share of the survey expecting more jobs ahead was essentially flat, but there was a big drop in the share who think employment prospects will worsen to 11.8 per cent from 15.9 per cent in December.

AFP

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