Consumer confidence, in slump, shows gains

Dec. 29, 2009 at 11:24 AM

NEW YORK, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. consumer confidence rose in December for the second consecutive month, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

After a slight decline in October, the Consumer Confidence Index rose from November's 50.6 to 52.9.

The index uses 1985 as a base year, assigning consumer confidence of that year a value of 100.

In December, the Expectations Index, measuring confidence in the future, rose from 70.3 to 75.6. The Present Situation Index, fell, however, from 18.8 from 21.2 a month ago.

"A more optimistic outlook for business and labor market conditions was the driving force behind the increase in the Expectations Index. Regarding income, however, consumers remain rather pessimistic about their short-term prospects and this will likely continue to play a key role in spending decisions in early 2010," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Research Center.

The monthly index is based on interviews with 5,000 consumers. In the latest poll, consumers indicating current business conditions are "bad" rose from 44.5 percent to 46.6 percent. Consumers indicating business conditions were "good" fell from 8.1 percent to 7 percent.

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