U.S. consumer sentiment on economy, labor market higher in December

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Confidence by U.S. consumers about the economy and the job market grew in December, a reversal after a two-month decline, according to The Conference Board report released Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index of The Conference Board rose to 78.1 from 72 in November, surpassing the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey and the highest year-end reading since 2007. The index fell in October to 72.4 amid the partial federal government shutdown, from an 80.2 reading in September.

The median forecast of 59 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for the sentiment index to climb to a 76 level. The New York-based research group Conference Board also revised up the reading for November after initially reporting 70.4. During the recession that ended June 2009, the index averaged at 53.7.

The expectations index climbed to 79.4 in December from 71.1 in November. Consumer confidence increased over the next six months about future economic and job prospects, although they were slightly more pessimistic about their income prospects, according to Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

The present conditions index by the group rose to 76.2, the strongest reading since April of 2008. Consumers’ view of current job market conditions also improved, as those who believe positions were hard to get fell in December to the lowest level since September 2008.

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