Consumer confidence, job outlook jump prior to holiday season
Consumer confidence spiked in November after six straight months of decline, according to The Conference Board. The monthly index improved to 56 from a recession-like reading of 40.9 in October, with the November index approaching values last seen in July. "Consumers' apprehension regarding the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and income prospects eased considerably," Board Director Lynn Franco said in a release. "Consumers appear to be entering the holiday season in better spirits, though overall readings remain historically weak." Present-day conditions, while improved from October, remained largely negative in November. Those surveyed who said business conditions are "good" improved to 13.3% from 11.2%, and those who gave a response of "bad" declined to 38.2% from 43.7%. Job outlook improved as well, as expectation for more jobs by survey participants increased to 12.9% from 10.8% in October, while those who said they expected fewer openings declined to 24.1% from 27.6%. The index is a random sample completed for the board by market research firm Nielsen. A 100 score refers to 1985 levels. The cutoff date for this month's results was Nov. 15. Write to Andrew Scoggin. Follow him on Twitter @ascoggin.