Consumer Confidence: Sharply Lower on Virus Resurgence

December 22, 2020
Bottom Line: Consumer confidence fell sharply in December and was revised modestly lower for November, according to the Conference Board's survey. All of the declines were due to consumers' assessments of the present situation as coronavirus cases surged. On the plus side, their expectations for business in six months improved. Among the specific categories, consumers said they curtailed plans for vacation due to the virus resurgence, but spending at home looked more positive, with more consumers planning appliances and other durable goods purchases. Overall this report largely confirms the deceleration in consumer activity we have seen in other indicators, including our Nowcasting indices. But on the plus side, consumers are more optimistic about the future as the virus rollout begins.
Consumer Confidence FELL by 4.3 points in December to 88.6, compared with market expectations for an increase to 97.0. The index is now 30.9% BELOW its year-ago level.
Present Situation Index FELL by 15.6 points to 90.3. The index is 47.0% BELOW its year-ago level.
The Expectations Index ROSE by 3.2 points to 87.5. The index is 12.5% BELOW its year-ago level.
The labor differential, the percentage of respondents who said jobs are “hard to get” from the percentage who said jobs are “plentiful” , moved lower by 7.1 points to -0.2.