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Consumer Confidence: Modest Decline Pre-Omicron

November 30, 2021
Bottom Line:  Confidence, as measured by the Conference Board, fell slightly more than expected in November, but we should note that this survey was conducted before the Omicron Covid variant. There were also negative revisions to October's record initial report. Overall, this survey continues to show volatility and difficulty sampling consumers, with this survey index standing in sharp contrast to the University of Michigan survey, which was nearing lows not seen since the financial crisis. The most consistent datapoint across both of these surveys was the number of consumers reporting less favorable conditions for buying homes, autos, and durable goods. Overall, consumer confidence was just good enough to keep consumption growth moderate to robust heading into the omicron variant. But uncertainty going forward is now notably higher until we get a better sense of the impact of omicron.
Consumer Confidence FELL by 2.1 points in November to 109.5, compared with market expectations for a decline to 110.9. The index is now 17.9% ABOVE its year-ago level.

Present Situation Index
FELL by 3.0 points to 142.5. The index is 34.6% ABOVE its year-ago level.
The Expectations Index
FELL by 1.4 points to 87.6.  The index is 3.9% ABOVE its year-ago level.

The labor differential
, the percentage of respondents who said jobs are “plentiful” from the percentage who said jobs are “hard to get” , moved higher by 3.1 points to 46.9.