U.S. consumers in December turned more optimistic as expectations rose to a two-year high, according to a report released Tuesday.Repeat:
The Conference Board, a private research group, said its index of consumer confidence increased to 52.9 this month, from a revised 50.6 in November, which was originally reported as 49.5. The current month's reading was close to economists' projection of 53.0, according to a survey conducted by Dow Jones Newswires.
The present situation index, a gauge of consumers' assessment of current economic conditions, fell to 18.8 from a revised 21.2 in November, originally reported as 21.1. The December reading was the lowest since February 1983, the board said.
Consumer expectations for economic activity over the next six months increased to 75.6 from a revised 70.3, first reported as 68.5. The expectations index is at its highest since December 2007, the start of the U.S. recession.
"A more optimistic outlook for business and labor market conditions was the driving force behind the increase in the expectations index," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
Sentiment about the current labor markets was little changed from November's showing. The percentage who think jobs are "hard to get" fell to 48.6% in December from 49.2% in November. And those who think jobs are "plentiful" slipped to 2.9% from 3.1%.
The employment outlook showed a bit more improvement. The percentage of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose to 16.2% in December from 15.8%, while those expecting fewer jobs fell to 20.7% from 23.1%.
The present situation index, a gauge of consumers' assessment of current economic conditions, fell to 18.8 from a revised 21.2 in November, originally reported as 21.1. The December reading was the lowest since February 1983, the board said.People think that things really really suck right now. But that things should get better next year.
The hate Obama's policies, but think they will be tempered next year.
AS EXPECTATIONS INCREASE THAT THE GOP WILL RETAKE CONGRESS IN 2010 AND PUT A BREAK ON OBAMA'S SOCIALIST "TRANSFORMATION" OF AMERICA, CONFIDENCE IN OUR ECONOMY WILL SOAR.