U.S. Consumer Confidence Bounces Back in December as Inflation Sees Signs of Cooling

U.S. consumer confidence bounced back in December following back-to-back monthly declines, according to The Conference Board’s monthly Consumer Confidence Index.

The Index – which details consumer attitudes, buying intentions, vacation plans and expectations – rose sharply to 108.3 for this month, marking an increase from 101.4 in November and the highest reading since April.

While the results did show a rise in consumer attitudes, the gains were skewed toward how shoppers are feeling now, not how they feel about the future.

In the same report, The Conference Board reported that its Present Situation Index rose to 147.2 from 138.3 last month, while its Expectations Index increased to 82.4 from 76.7 — with a reading around 80 seen as “associated with recession,” according to the research group.

Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement that the Present Situation and Expectations Indexes improved due to consumers’ more favorable view regarding the economy and jobs.

“Inflation expectations retreated in December to their lowest level since September 2021, with recent declines in gas prices a major impetus,” Franco said. “Vacation intentions improved, but plans to purchase homes and big-ticket appliances cooled further. This shift in consumers’ preference from big-ticket items to services will continue in 2023, as will headwinds from inflation and interest rate hikes.”

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