Industry News

Consumers more upbeat about current economy

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The Conference Board today announced that its consumer confidence index edged up for the second consecutive month in January amid improving job-market conditions. The index now stands at 103.4 (1985=100), up from 102.7 in December. The present situation index increased to 110.9 from 105.7. The expectations index, however, declined to 98.4 from 100.7. "Despite the slight retreat in expectations, consumers' short-term outlook remains favorable and suggests the economy will continue to expand throughout the first half of this year," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "And, recent advances in the present situation index, now at its highest level since May 2002, suggest consumers will not dramatically alter their spending in the months ahead." Consumers' overall assessment of current conditions improved in January. Those claiming business conditions are "good" increased to 26 percent from 24.4 percent. However, those claiming conditions are "...