Photo: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
U.S. consumer confidence as measured by the Conference Board declined to 61.1 in January, missing economist projections for a gain.Economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting the figure to rise to 68.0, from an upwardly revised reading of 64.8 in December.
Instead, it fell 3.7 points, as both future and present confidence indexes descended.
“Consumer Confidence retreated in January, after large back-to-back gains in the final two months of 2011,” Director of the Conference Board Lynn Franco said. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labour market conditions turned more downbeat and is back to November 2011 levels. Regarding the short-term outlook, consumers are more upbeat about employment, but less optimistic about business conditions and their income prospects.”
The number of consumers who said that business conditions were good, declined to 13.3 per cent from 16.3 per cent. At the same time, Americans said it was harder to get a job in January.
However, short-term outlook for employment opportunities improved in the month, with 16.2 per cent of respondents to the Conference Board saying they expected more jobs in the coming months, while the percentage of Americans expecting fewer jobs fell 70 basis points to 19.5 per cent.
Fewer consumers believed they would see a pay increase in the short-term, according to the survey.