U.S. Consumer Confidence Back To Pre-Hurricane Level

U.S. consumer confidence bounced back in December to its highest level since Hurricane Katrina, the Conference Board said Dec. 18. The business research firm said its index of consumer confidence increased to 103.6 points in December from a revised 98.3 in November, beating forecasts of 102.5 points. It was also close to the level reached in August of 105.5, just before hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"The resiliency of the economy, recent declines in prices at the pump and job growth have consumers feeling more confident at year-end than they felt at the start of 2005," said Conference Board research director Lynn Franco.

Consumer views of business conditions was mixed. The percent of consumers who saw current conditions as "good" was 24.3, slightly down from 25.6% in November and sharply lower than the year's high of 29.7% in August. But only 14.7% said business conditions were "bad", compared to 17.9% in November and 18.4% in October. Meanwhile, 61% called business conditions "normal", up from 56.5% last month and the highest level so far in 2005.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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