Consumer Confidence Gives Up Some Gains

Don Hogsett, February 28, 2005

Consumer confidence dipped slightly during February, slipping 1 percent, to a reading of 104 from, 105.1, giving up some of the strong 2.3 percent increase recorded during January, The Conference Board reported.

Consumers are feeling good about current business conditions, and the Present Situation Index advanced strongly, by 3.8 percent. But they're somewhat less certain looking ahead, and the Expectations Index fell by 4.7 percent.

“Although expectations cooled this month, consumers are more optimistic today than they were a year ago,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research center. “Just as important, consumer confidence about current economic conditions, including the labor market, continues to gather momentum. Despite recent fluctuations, both present and future indicators point toward continued expansion in the months ahead.”

Consumers' overall assessment of current conditions continues to improve. While the number who claim conditions are good eased to 24.9 percent from 26.1 percent, the number who describe conditions as bad fell to 15.6 percent from 18.1 percent.

The employment picture also improved, the business think tank noted. The number of consumers who said jobs are hard to get fell to 22.6 percent form 24.3 percent, and the number who think jobs are plentiful was virtually unchanged at 20.9 percent.

CONFIDENCE BY REGION

Region % change
Source: The Conference Board
New England 12.0%
Middle Atlantic -1.0
East North Central -5.9
West North Central 14.4
South Atlantic 5.9
East South Central -12.8
West South Central -10.7
Mountain -1.5
Pacific -7.2


Buying plans February
Plans to purchase over the next six months

Source: The Conference Board
Homes -5.7%
Carpets -31.1
Cars 0.0
Major appliances -4.2
Vacation -13.0


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