Economy Watch: Consumer Confidence at 17-Year High

The Conference Board's latest Consumer Confidence Index reached a new high of 129.5, indicating consumers are feeling optimistic about the U.S. economy.

Shopping cartsThe Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in October, did even better in November, hitting a 17-year high. Whatever consumers think of the political climate, they’re nevertheless hopeful about the economy, which is a psychological spur to higher spending.

The index now stands at 129.5 (1985 = 100), up from 126.2 in October. The Present Situation Index increased from 152.0 to 153.9, while the Expectations Index rose from 109.0 last month to 113.3, according to the Conference Board.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved moderately in November. The percentage who say business conditions are “good” increased from 34.4 percent to 34.9 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 13.5 percent to 12.7 percent.

Consumers also think the labor market has improved. The percentage saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 36.7 percent in September to 37.1 percent in October, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 17.1 percent to 16.9 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a probability-design random sample and conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.