December U.S. Consumer Confidence Slides

The U.S. Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined in December, after decreasing in November. The index now stands at 88.6, down from 92.9 in November. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labour market conditions – decreased sharply from 105.9 to 90.3. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labour market conditions – increased from 84.3 in November to 87.5 this month. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions deteriorated sharply in December, as the resurgence of COVID-19 remains a drag on confidence,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “As a result, consumers’ vacation intentions, which had notably improved in October, have retreated. On the flip side, as consumers continue to hunker down at home, intentions to purchase appliances have risen. Overall, it appears that growth has weakened further in the fourth quarter and consumers do not foresee the economy gaining any significant momentum in early 2021.”