Consumer Confidence rose in December as Americans embraced more employment opportunities and persistent declines in prices at the gas pump.
According to Bloomberg, the Conference Board’s index increased to 92.6 from a revised 91 in November that was stronger than initially estimated, the New York-based private research group said today. A measure of current conditions advanced to the highest in almost seven years.
Gasoline prices that have fallen every day since the end of September left more cash in people’s wallets heading into the holiday gift-giving season. The strongest job growth since 1999 and record stock prices are also fueling optimism and providing a base for further spending gains that will help propel the economy.
“Although wage growth is pretty slow, job growth in 2014 has been pretty strong and lower oil prices are providing a tailwind to consumer sentiment,” said Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia. “We’ll have another stable consumer performance in 2015.”
Economists called for a reading of 93.9, according to the Bloomberg survey median. Estimates of 70 economists ranged from 86 to 101. The Conference Board’s measure averaged 96.8 during the last expansion and 53.7 during the recession that ended in June 2009.
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