On December 27, 2011, the Conference Board released their latest on Consumer Confidence. The trend over time is what is most telling. How volatile confidence is today is startling.
2011 started off strong – only to peak in February and then decline through October. As we head into 2012, to have any good news on this front is – surprising and we’ll see. Today, the Index is momentarily climbing.
After two months of considerable gains, the Consumer Confidence Index is now back to levels seen last spring (April 2011, 66.0). Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved again.
Looking ahead, consumers are more optimistic that business conditions, employment prospects, and their financial situations will continue to get better. While consumers are ending the year in a somewhat more upbeat mood, it is too soon to tell if this is a rebound from earlier declines or a sustainable shift in attitudes.” - Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center
10 years of consumer confidence
The graph below provides a perspective using the U.S. Consumer Confidence Index over the past tumultuous decade.
Some of the major events of the era are noted to illustrate their effects on how people feel. For example, when the US experiences a new war, natural disaster, or other severe crisis, the index gauges the reaction and eventual recovery. What it doesn’t show is how this process changes people and how they process value.
Key Take-away: To early to tell if this is a meaningful trend. Stay tuned. (click the graphic to enlarge)
Worth Visiting: The Conference Board