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Consumer Confidence Index Rises After Five-Month Slide

Press release from the issuing company

November 26, 2002 -- The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which has declined for five straight months, rebounded in November. The Index now stands at 84.1 (1985=100), up from 79.6 in October. The Expectations Index rose to 88.4 from 81.1. But the Present Situation Index remains relatively flat, edging up to 77.6 from 77.2. 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). The November preliminary survey period dates were November 1st - 18th. “The rebound in expectations suggests consumers do not expect economic conditions to become worse,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “This comeback, combined with yesterday’s upbeat forecasts for Christmas spending, signals a brighter holiday spending season than was anticipated only a month ago.” Consumers’ expectations improved over last month’s readings. Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions in the next six months rose slightly to 19.9 percent from 19.3 percent. Those expecting conditions to deteriorate fell to 11.4 percent from 14.3 percent. The employment outlook was also more favorable this month. Consumers expecting fewer jobs over the next six months declined to 18.9 percent from 22.1 percent, while those anticipating more jobs held steady at 15.3 percent. Income expectations were more optimistic. Now, 19.0 percent of consumers anticipate a rise in their incomes, up from 17.9 percent in October. The modest improvement in consumers' assessment of the present situation was due to a slight improvement in current business conditions, with labor market conditions still stagnant. Consumers rating current business conditions as "bad" declined to 26.0 from 27.7 percent. Those holding the opposite view increased to 16.0 percent from 15.6 percent. Consumers reporting jobs are hard to get rose to 27.5 percent from 27.3 percent last month. Those claiming jobs are plentiful slipped to 14.1 percent from 14.7 percent.