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Consumer Confidence Continues to Improve

The ""Conference Board's"":http://www.conference-board.org/ Consumer Confidence Index increased again in January, continuing December's rebound from months of declines.


According to the group, the index rose 3.2 points to a reading of 80.7 in January. December's original reading was revised down from the originally reported 78.1 to 77.5. January's increase puts the index just above the 80.2 reading reported before the government shutdown in October.

""All in all, confidence appears to be back on track and rising expectations suggest the economy may pick up some momentum in the months ahead,"" said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

The index measuring consumer feelings about present economic conditions increased nearly four points to 79.1, with sentiments about business conditions and the job market improving.

The number of consumers claiming business conditions are ""good"" increased to 21.5 percent from 20.2 percent in December, while those saying conditions are ""bad"" fell to 22.8 percent. Meanwhile, 12.7 percent said jobs are ""plentiful"" (up from 11.9 percent), while 32.6 percent said labor is ""hard to get"" (down slightly from 32.9 percent).

The index gauging consumer expectations also climbed, rising to 81.8 from 79.0 previously, with the number of respondents anticipating worse business conditions ahead falling slightly and the number expecting improvements remaining flat.

The outlook for labor was mixed, however: 15.4 percent of those surveyed expect more jobs in the next six months, down from 17.1 percent. At the same time, the share of those anticipating fewer jobs also fell, dropping more than a point to 18.3 percent.


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