The Latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through November 19. Confidence has risen slightly for two months in a row but remains well below the long-term trend.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in October, increased further in November. The Index now stands at 54.1 (1985=100), up from 49.9 in October….
Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research centre: “Consumer confidence is now at its highest level in five months, a welcome sign as we enter the holiday season. Consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy and job market, while only slightly better than last month, suggests the economy is still expanding, albeit slowly. Expectations, the main driver of this month’s increase in confidence, are now at the highest level since May (Exp. Index, 84.6). Hopefully, the improvement in consumers’ mood will continue in the months ahead.” See the full release here.
The chart below is intended to help evaluate the historical context for this index as a leading indicator of the economy. Toward this end I have included recessions and GDP. The linear regression through the index data shows the long-term trend of this very volatile indicator. Today’s 54.1 reading is significantly below the 86.2 of the current regression level.
For an interesting comparison, see this post on the November University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Here is the chart from that post.
And finally, let’s take a look at the correlation between consumer confidence and small business optimism, the latter by way of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
The NFIB index has been less volatile than the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, but it has likewise remained bleak despite the official end to the recession in June 2009.
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