US December Consumer Confidence Drops to 128.1 vs 133.5 eyed and 136.4 prior

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased in December, following a modest decline in November. The Index now stands at 128.1 (1985=100), down from 136.4 in November. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – declined slightly, from 172.7 to 171.6. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – decreased from 112.3 last month to 99.1 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 13.

“Consumer Confidence decreased in December, following a moderate decline in November,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Expectations regarding job prospects and business conditions weakened, but still suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the short-term. While consumers are ending 2018 on a strong note, back-to-back declines in Expectations are reflective of an increasing concern that the pace of economic growth will begin moderating in the first half of 2019.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined slightly in December. The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are “good” decreased from 42.0 percent to 37.2 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased from 10.7 percent to 11.3 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was mixed. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased marginally from 46.8 percent to 46.2 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 12.6 percent to 11.6 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term future fell in December. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased from 21.9 percent to 18.3 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen increased, from 8.3 percent to 9.7 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 22.7 percent to 16.6 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased, from 11.2 percent to 14.4 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined from 23.2 percent to 22.4 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease rose, from 7.2 percent to 7.7 percent.

Conference Board

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Ed Moya

Ed Moya

Senior Market Analyst at OANDA
With more than 20 years’ trading experience, Ed Moya is a market analyst with OANDA, producing up-to-the-minute fundamental analysis of geo-political events and monetary policies in the US, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Over the course of his career, he has worked with some of the world’s leading forex brokerages and research departments including Global Forex Trading, FX Solutions and Trading Advantage. Most recently he worked with TradeTheNews.com, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news. Based in New York, Ed is a regular guest on several major financial television networks including BNN, CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg. He is often quoted in leading print and online publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University. Follow Ed on Twitter @edjmoya ‏
Ed Moya