US Consumer Confidence At Highest Level Since 2002

28 January 2004

Despite widespread concern over the nation's unemployment statistics, US consumers in January displayed their highest level of confidence since the summer of 2002, reports nonprofit business-research group the Conference Board.

Based on an benchmark of 100 in 1985, the Board's consumer confidence index for January rose to 96.8 from a revised 91.7 for December. However, even this cheering figure failed to meet economists' consensus expectation of a 98 reading, according to a survey conducted by Dow Jones Newswires.

The consumer-expectations index for economic activity over the next six months rose to 108.1 from a revised 103.3.The data reflects the public's future expectations.

Their assessment of current circumstances was equally upbeat, with the Board's present-situation index rising to 80 this month from a revised 74.3 for December.

But caution was the keynote on the employment front. Those who said jobs were hard to get fell to 31.4% in January from 32.4% in the previous month -- above levels reached in November and a year earlier. Meanwhile, those who found jobs plentiful fell slightly to 12.4% from 12.6% in December and 13.5% in November.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff