U.S. Consumer Confidence Improves More Than Expected In January

Consumer confidence in the U.S. showed a notable improvement in the month of January, the Conference Board revealed in a report released on Tuesday. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index climbed to 131.6 in January from an upwardly revised 128.2 in December. Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to rise to 127.8 from the 126.5 originally reported for the previous month. "Consumer confidence increased in January, following a moderate advance in December, driven primarily by a more positive assessment of the current job market and increased optimism about future job prospects," said Lynn Franco, Senior Director, Economic Indicators, at The Conference Board. She added, "Optimism about the labor market should continue to support confidence in the short-term and, as a result, consumers will continue driving growth and prevent the economy from slowing in early 2020." Reflecting the improvement in consumers' assessment of current conditions, the present situation index jumped to 175.3 in January from 170.5 in December. Consumers claiming business conditions are "good" inched up to 40.8 percent from 39.0 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" edged down to 10.4 percent from 11.0 percent. The Conference Board said consumers' appraisal of the job market also improved, with those saying jobs are "plentiful" rising to 49.0 percent from 46.5 percent and those claiming jobs are "hard to get" falling to 11.6 percent from 13.0 percent. The expectations index also rose to 102.5 in January from 100.0 in December, as consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months was virtually unchanged at 18.8 percent, while those expecting conditions will worsen dipped to 8.4 percent from 8.8 percent. Consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 17.2 percent from 15.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 13.4 percent from 13.9 percent. On Friday, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised reading on U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of January. The consumer sentiment index for January is expected to be unrevised from the preliminary reading of 99.1, which was down from 99.3 in December.