The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased slightly in December to 52.5, down from 54.3 in November.
“Despite this month’s modest decline, consumer confidence is no worse off today than it was a year ago,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy and labor market remains tepid, and their outlook remains cautious. Thus, all signs continue to suggest that the economic expansion will continue well into 2011, but that the pace of growth will remain moderate.”
The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “bad” in December, 41.2%, remained basically the same from November, when 42.9% said conditions are “bad.” However, those claiming business conditions are “good” declined to 7.5% from 8.5%, and those saying jobs are “plentiful” fell slightly to 3.9% from 4.3%.
Consumers seem to have a slightly better outlook on business conditions, however. The percentage of consumers who expect an improvement in business conditions over the next six months edged up to 16.6% from 16.4%, and those anticipating that business conditions will worsen edged down to 12.1% from 12.4%.
But the current and future job outlook is not good. Those stating that jobs are “hard to get” edged up to 46.8% from 46.3%. Those anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead increased to 19.5% from 19.1%, while those expecting more jobs declined to 14.3% from 15.1%. People aren’t expecting raises any time soon, either. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes decreased to 9.9% from 11.1%.
In addition, the Present Situation Index also declined, to 23.5 from 25.4, and the Expectations Index fell to 71.9 from 73.6.