Oct 29, 2003

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which declined in September, rose in October. The Index now stands at 81.1, up from 77.0 in September. The Expectations Index rose to 90.7 from 88.5, and the Present Situation Index increased to 66.8 from 59.7, ending a five-month slide.

Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, attributed a more favorable job market as a major factor in the turnaround, along with consumers’ beliefs that this trend will continue. “With the holiday season around the corner, this improvement in consumers’ spirits is a good omen for upcoming retail sales,” she said.

Consumers reporting that jobs are hard to get eased to 33.8 percent from 35.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are plentiful rose to 11.8 percent from 9.9 percent. Those anticipating more jobs to become available in the next six months increased to 19.7 percent from 16.6 percent.

Consumer assessment of current business conditions also improved, with those rating conditions good increasing to 17.2 percent from 16.2 percent. Those claiming conditions were bad fell to 28.4 percent from 29.5 percent. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months rose to 23.2 percent from 21.3 percent.

Despite consumer overall positive outlook, the proportion of the surveyed group anticipating an increase in their incomes fell to 16.7 percent from 19.0 percent.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by NFO WorldGroup. For more information, go to www.conference-board.org.

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