November 2018 Conference Board Consumer Confidence Declined


The latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index’s headline number is 135.7 (1985=100), down from 137.9 in October.

Analyst Opinion of Conference Board Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence has been on a multi-year upswing. The softening this month could be the beginning of a downtrend – or at a minimum is showing a growing uncertainty by consumers this month.

The consensus range from Econoday was 135.0 to 139.0 (consensus 136.9). This month’s index is based on data collected through 13 November 2018.

Per Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board:

Despite a small decline in November, Consumer Confidence remains at historically strong levels. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions increased slightly, with job growth the main driver of improvement. Expectations, on the other hand, weakened somewhat in November, primarily due to a less optimistic view of future business conditions and personal income prospects. Overall, consumers are still quite confident that economic growth will continue at a solid pace into early 2019. However, if expectations soften further in the coming months, the pace of growth is likely to begin moderating.

Analysis from Econoday:

The consumer confidence index, at 135.7 in November, continues to hold in the mid-130s area and not far from the all-time high of 144.7 reached in 2000. November’s strength is in the present situation which is a favorable indication for holiday spending, at 172.7 for an 8 tenths gain from October. Expectations, however, eased by 4.1 points to 111.0 as optimism over future job and income prospects is easing slightly.

Turning back to the present situation, a very favorable sign for next week’s November employment report comes from jobs-hard-to-get which fell a sizable 1.2 percentage points to 12.2 percent. Also positive is a greater share saying jobs are currently plentiful, at 46.6 percent for a 1.2 percentage point gain.

Inflation expectations are on a subdued climb, up 1 tenth for a second straight month to 4.9 percent which for this reading is still low. Interest rate expectations continue to edge higher, up 1.2 points to 74.4 percent of the sample saying they will climb over the next 12 months. Higher rates mean higher mortgage rates which aren’t helping buying plans for homes which are steady at a modest 6.4 percent of the sample.

Ongoing trouble in the stock market isn’t really hurting this report much though the percentage of bulls is noticeably down, at 35.0 percent vs 43.6 percent in October. Yet it’s the strength of the jobs market that is the most important factor in the Conference Board’s report, one that continues to point to unusually favorable conditions for the economy including for the nation’s retailers.

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