Consumer confidence dips again
Confidence declined in November, but holiday spending still looks “solid.”
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index dipped to 125.5 in November, following a slight decline in October to 126.1. It was the fourth consecutive monthly decline.
The Present Situation Index – based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased to 166.9 from 173.5. But the Expectations Index – consumers' short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased to 97.9 this month from 94.5.
"Consumer confidence declined for a fourth consecutive month, driven by a softening in consumers' assessment of current business and employment conditions," said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "The decline in the Present Situation Index suggests that economic growth in the final quarter of 2019 will remain weak. However, consumers' short-term expectations improved modestly, and growth in early 2020 is likely to remain at around 2%. Overall, confidence levels are still high and should support solid spending during this holiday season."
Consumers' appraisal of current-day conditions was less favorable in November. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are "good" rose slightly from 39.7% to 40.2%, but those claiming business conditions are "bad" also increased, from 11.0% to 13.8%.
Consumers' assessment of the job market was less favorable than last month. Those saying jobs are "plentiful" decreased from 47.7% to 44.8%. Those claiming jobs are "hard to get" increased from 11.6% to 12.7%.
Consumers were moderately more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased slightly from 18.7% to 17.2%, while those expecting business conditions will worsen increased slightly, from 11.5% to 12.1%.
Consumers' outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 16.9% to 15.7%. But those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased, from 18.0% to 13.2%.