Consumer Confidence Rebounds in November

Don Hogsett, December 5, 2005

A sharp drop in gasoline prices and an improving jobs outlook left consumers feeling more upbeat during November, and the Consumer Confidence Index, a gauge of future consumer spending, jumped 16.1 percent, snapping a three-month losing streak.

The index now stands at 98.9, up from 85.2 in October, The Conference Board reported. But even with the November jump, confidence levels still remain beneath their 13-month high of 106.5 recorded in August.

“A decline of more than 40 cents in gasoline prices this month and the improving job outlook have combined to help restore consumers' confidence,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. “While the index remains below its pre-Katrina levels, the shock of the hurricanes and subsequent leap in gas prices has begun wearing off just in time for the holiday season.”

But even though consumers are feeling more cheery, it's going to take more than high spirits to get them to open up their wallets, Franco suggested. “Despite this latest boost in confidence, holiday spending will be driven by the bargains consumers have come to expect.”

Consumers' outlook for the next six months is considerable more upbeat, but not as optimistic as earlier this year. The number of those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 11.7 percent from 18.5 percent.

Buying plans November
Plans to purchase over the next six months

Source: The Conference Board
Homes 10.7%
Carpets -15.7
Cars -23.4
Major appliances 16.4
Vacation 5.1

Confidence by region

Region % change
Source: The Conference Board
New England 30.0%
Middle Atlantic 2.7
East North Central 17.1
West North Central 9.1
South Atlantic 14.6
East South Central 0.4
West South Central 22.3
Mountain 25.9
Pacific 8.7

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