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Consumer Confidence Index Declines More Than Four Points in December

Monday, January 06, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

December -- The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which rebounded in November, declined more than four points in December. The Index now stands at 80.3 (1985=100), down from 84.9 in November. The Present Situation Index fell to 69.9 from 78.3. The Expectations Index declined to 87.2 from 89.3. The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by NFO WorldGroup, a member of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). “Latest signals from consumers are in keeping with a continuing mixed bag of economic news,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “But the major factor dampening consumers’ spirits has been the rising unemployment rate and the discouraging job outlook. Weak retail sales over the holidays clearly reflect the current mood of consumers. Until there is an improvement in labor market conditions, there is not likely to be a significant upturn in consumer confidence.” Consumers' assessment of current conditions is more dour than in November. Those rating current business conditions as “good” decreased to 14.6 percent from 16.1 percent. Those holding the opposite view remained unchanged at 25.8 percent. Consumers reporting jobs are “hard to get” rose to 29.8 percent, up from 27.3 percent last month. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” fell to 12.4 percent from 14.2 percent. Consumers expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months edged up slightly to 20.8 percent from 20.3 percent. But the percentage of consumers expecting conditions to become worse fell slightly to 11.0 percent from 11.3 percent. The employment outlook is also less favorable. Consumers expecting fewer jobs in the coming months rose to 20.2 percent, up from 18.8 percent. Those anticipating more jobs dipped to 15.1 percent from 15.4 percent. Income expectations are also less optimistic. Currently, 18.7 percent of consumers anticipate an increase in their incomes, down from 19.4 percent in November.




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