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Consumer confidence improves in January

Consumer confidence improved moderately this month, rising to its highest point since October as the public’s short-term outlook improved.

Consumer confidence improved moderately this month, rising to its highest point since October as the public’s short-term outlook improved.

The Conference Board said today that its Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 98.1 from 96.3 in December.

“Consumer confidence improved slightly in January, following an increase in December,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions held steady, while their expectations for the next six months improved moderately. For now, consumers do not foresee the volatility in financial markets as having a negative impact on the economy.”

The board said consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was relatively flat in January. The percentage of people who said business conditions are good was virtually unchanged at 27.2 percent; those who said conditions are bad declined slightly, from 18.9 percent to 18.5 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was modestly more positive. The proportion who said jobs are plentiful decreased from 24.2 percent to 22.8 percent and those who said jobs are hard to get declined to 23.4 percent from 24.5 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook improved somewhat in January. The percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to improve during the next six months rose from 14.5 percent to 16.2 percent; those who expect business conditions to worsen edged down from 10.8 percent to 10.3 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also slightly more optimistic. Those who anticipate more jobs in the months ahead increased from 12.4 percent to 13.2 percent; those who anticipate fewer jobs decreased slightly, from 16.8 percent to 16.5 percent.

The proportion of consumers who expect their income to increase improved from 16.3 percent to 18.1 percent. However, the proportion who expect a reduction in income increased from 9.5 percent to 10.8 percent.

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