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Economy in Brief

Improved Assessment of Job Market Raised Consumer Confidence
by Tom Moeller December 28, 2004

The Conference Board’s Index of Consumer Confidence surged nearly ten points to 102.3 in December. Consensus expectations had been for a reading of 94.0. The latest was the highest Confidence reading since July.

Jobs were viewed as hard to get by 26.4% of survey participants, down from levels near 28% during the prior three months. Jobs were viewed as plentiful by 19.4% of survey participants, the highest since July.

During the last twenty years there has been a 51% correlation between consumer confidence and the y/y change in real consumer spending. The correlation rose to 66% during the last ten years.

The present situation index jumped 10.0% to 105.9 (+39.3% y/y). The index of consumer expectations also rose a strong 10.8% to 99.9 (-7.0% y/y), the highest level since July.

The Conference Board’s survey isconducted by a mailed questionnaire to 5,000 households and about 3,500 typically respond.

Conference Board Dec Nov Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Consumer Confidence 102.3 92.6 7.9% 96.0 79.8 96.6
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