The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose for the second consecutive month in January, the New York-based business research group reported on Jan. 25. The index now stands at 103.4 (1985=100), up seven-tenths of a percentage point from December's revised reading of 102.7.
However, American consumers' short-term economic outlook, as measured by the Conference Board's Expectations Index, is not quite as optimistic as it was a month ago. Consumers expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months edged downward to 21.1% this month from 22.4% in December. And those expecting business conditions to worsen during the next six months edged upward to 8% this month from 7.7% last month.
"Despite the slight retreat in expectations, consumers' short-term outlook remains favorable and suggests the [U.S.] economy will continue to expand throughout the first half of this year," says Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. The consumer confidence survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.