Conference Board Dec. index falls, now below expectations

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The consumer confidence index decreased to 128.1 in December from an upwardly revised 136.4 last month, originally reported as 135.7, The Conference Board reported Thursday.

IFR Markets predicted a 133.7 reading for the index.

The present situation index slid to 171.6 from an unrevised 172.7, while the expectations index fell to 99.1 from a revised 112.3, first reported as 111.0.

“Consumer Confidence decreased in December, following a moderate decline in November,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for 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.”

Business conditions were called “good” by 37.2% of respondents in December, off from 42.0% of respondents in November. Those saying conditions are “bad” grew to 11.3% from 10.7%.

The percentage of consumers expecting a pickup in business conditions in the next half year slid to 18.3% from 21.9%, while 9.7% said they expect conditions to worsen, up from 8.3% in the prior month.

On the jobs front, those who believe jobs are “plentiful” slid to 46.2% from 46.8% in last month, while the number saying jobs are “hard to get” fell to 11.6% from 12.6%. The respondents who see fewer jobs becoming available in a half year, rose to 14.4% from 11.2%. Those expecting more jobs to become available dropped to 16.6% from 22.7%, The Conference Board reported.

The consumer confidence survey is based on a probability design random sample by the Nielsen Company.

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