Wednesday, November 1, 2017
By Bruce Erbeck

Confidence increased to its highest level in almost 17 years

 

NEW YORK – Oct. 31, 2017 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved marginally in September (an upward revision), increased again in October and hit a 17-year high.

The Index now stands at 125.9 (1985=100), up from 120.6 in September. The Present Situation Index increased from 146.9 to 151.1, while the Expectations Index that gauges attitudes about the economy six months in the future rose from 103.0 to 109.1.

"Consumer confidence increased to its highest level in almost 17 years (Dec. 2000, 128.6) in October after remaining relatively flat in September," says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions improved, boosted by the job market which had not received such favorable ratings since the summer of 2001. Consumers were also considerably more upbeat about the short-term outlook, with the prospect of improving business conditions as the primary driver."

Franco says that this month's survey suggests that "the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of the year."

Current situation
Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions improved in October. The percentage saying business conditions are "good" increased from 33.4 percent to 34.5 percent, while those saying business conditions are "bad" rose marginally from 13.2 percent to 13.5 percent.

Consumers' assessment of the job market was more upbeat. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are "plentiful" increased from 32.7 percent to 36.3 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased slightly from 18.0 percent to 17.5 percent.

Expectations
Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook also rose in October. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 20.9 percent to 22.2 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 9.6 percent to 6.9 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the job market, however, was somewhat less favorable than in September. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased marginally from 19.2 percent to 18.9 percent; however, those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.0 percent to 11.8 percent.

Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement decreased marginally from 20.5 percent to 20.3 percent, however, the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 8.6 percent to 7.4 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was October 18.

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