Bloomberg reports U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Drops on Muted Outlook

U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped for the fourth time in five months in December, as expectations for income and job-market conditions edged down.

The decline signals Americans remain cautious in a volatile global environment. At the same time, the index remains at elevated levels, propelled by a solid labor market, rising wages for the average worker, and a cooling trade war with China. Americans are less optimistic about the future, with drops in expectations for employment and income: the share of those seeing more jobs in the next six months dropped to the lowest level since January and those seeing a decrease in income rose to the highest level since May. For current economic conditions, the share of respondents who said jobs were hard to get increased to the highest level since June, while those saying jobs were plentiful also increased.

Conference Board View

“While consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved, their expectations declined, driven primarily by a softening in their short-term outlook regarding jobs and financial prospects,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “While the economy hasn’t shown signs of further weakening, there is little to suggest that growth, and in particular consumer spending, will gain momentum in early 2020.”

Noise or Something Else?

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I don't normally follow the report as it primarily tracks the stock market. Also the report is proprietary and whatever it costs is too much for me.

What I find interesting is that confidence has turned down but the market hasn't.

Also, "jobs harder to get" and "jobs plentiful" are both up. What's up with that? Noise?

People see a decrease in income. Income ought to be rising given the GM strike is over. Boeing perhaps?

My general feeling is the report is mostly coincident noise that tracks the stock market, but with that view, sentiment should not be down for the 4th time in 5 months.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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