With the holiday season upon us, a more confident consumer should be welcome news for retailers

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November 29, 2016

After waning last month following strong back-to-back increases in August and September, U.S. consumer confidence rebounded robustly in November and is once again at pre-recession levels.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index now sits at 107.1—a reading not seen in nearly a decade.

According to The Conference Board, consumers' assessment of current conditions improved in November. The percentage of consumers saying that business conditions are "good" improved from 26.5 percent to 29.2 percent, while those saying that business conditions are "bad" fell from 17.3 percent to 14.8 percent.

Consumers' appraisal of the labor market was moderately more positive in November. The percentage of those stating that jobs are "plentiful" increased from 25.3 percent to 26.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" was unchanged at 21.7 percent.

Consumers' short-term outlook was also more optimistic in November. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 16.4 percent to 15.3 percent; however, those expecting business conditions to worsen also decreased, from 11.8 percent to 10.0 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was likewise somewhat mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 14.5 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs fell from 16.6 percent to 13.8 percent.

"Consumer confidence improved in November after a moderate decline in October, and is once again at pre-recession levels," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. (The Index stood at 111.9 in July 2007.) "A more favorable assessment of current conditions coupled with a more optimistic short-term outlook helped boost confidence. And while the majority of consumers were surveyed before the presidential election, it appears from the small sample of post-election responses that consumers' optimism was not impacted by the outcome. With the holiday season upon us, a more confident consumer should be welcome news for retailers."

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.

References: The Conference Board