Confidence back down in December
January 6, 2003,
With a weak jobs outlook still weighing heavily and Americans less optimistic about their income expectations, consumer confidence stumbled in December, declining by 5.4 percent and giving up the gains it had made in a short-lived rally the month before.
"Latest signs from consumers are in keeping with a continuing mixed bag of economic news," said Lynn Franco, director the he business think tank's Consumer Research Center. "But the major factor dampening consumers' spirits has been the rising unemployment rate and the discouraging job outlook."
Acting as a major drag on their overall outlook, consumers say they expect fewer jobs to become available in the next six months. And they're getting antsy about their earnings potential as well. Only 18.7 percent say they expect an increase in their incomes over the next six months, down from 19.4.
Plans to buy a car advanced by 7.4 percent, but more consumers said they plan to buy a less costly used car than a more expensive new car.
Home-buying plans advanced by 3.2 percent, with somewhat more saying they plan to buy new homes rather than previously-owned homes.
But when it comes to furnishing their homes, buying plans were down. Plans to buy a carpet fell by 7.7 percent, and plans to buy major appliances slipped by 1.7 percent.
Consumer confidence by region
|East North Central||-15.6|
|West North Central||-17.9|
|East South Central||-5.4|
|West South Central||-8.4|
Consumer Buying Plans — December
plans to purchase over the next six months
|Source: The Conference Board