The results of the Conference Board’s December consumer confidence survey are out.

The headline index surged to 78.1 from November’s upward-revised 72.0 reading. Economists predicted a smaller advance to 76.0.

Below is the full text of the release:

U.S. Consumer Confidence Rebounds in December

31 Dec. 2013

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had decreased in November, rebounded in December. The Index now stands at 78.1 (1985=100), up from 72.0 in November. The Present Situation Index increased to 76.2 from 73.5. The Expectations Index increased to 79.4 from 71.1 last month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 17.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer confidence rebounded in December and is now close to pre-government shutdown levels (September 2013, 80.2). Sentiment regarding current conditions increased to a 5 ½ year high (April 2008, 81.9), with consumers attributing the improvement to more favourable economic and labour market conditions. Looking ahead, consumers expressed a greater degree of confidence in future economic and job prospects, but were moderately more pessimistic about their earning prospects. Despite the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than when the year began.”

Consumers’ appraisal of overall current conditions improved. Those claiming business conditions are “good” edged down to 19.6 per cent from 20.4 per cent, however, those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased to 22.6 per cent from 24.6 per cent. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was also more upbeat. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” ticked up to 12.2 per cent from 12.0 per cent, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 32.5 per cent from 34.1 per cent.

Consumers’ expectations, which had decreased in November, improved in December. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 17.2 per cent from 16.7 per cent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 14.0 per cent from 16.1 per cent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labour market was considerably more optimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased sharply to 17.1 per cent from 13.1 per cent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 19.0 per cent from 21.4 per cent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined to 13.9 per cent from 15.3 per cent, while those expecting a decrease in their incomes declined to 14.0 per cent from 15.5 per cent.

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