The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) measures the degree of optimism that consumers feel about the overall state of a country’s economy, as well as their own personal financial situation.
The conference board consumer confidence index survey is conducted monthly and contains about 50 questions that track different aspects of consumer attitudes toward current and future business conditions, current and future employment conditions, and total family income for the next six months.
This report is highly regarded by the Fed and can be a key factor in determining U.S. monetary policy.
A survey of 5,000 consumers asked them how they feel about the current economy and their spending patterns.
They will also be asked how confident they are about buying expensive consumer goods. The report is split into how people feel now and their expectations over the next few months.
How to Read It:
A neutral level is in the region of 100.
Figures below 75 are generally weak, while levels above 125 are strong.
A high level of consumer confidence stimulates economic expansion while a low level can lead to an economic downturn.
A sharp drop in confidence can signal that the economy is weakening, but the correlation between spending and confidence figures is not very strong.
Only index changes of at least five points should be considered significant.
Since the Conference Board queries an entirely new group of people every month, the index shows more erratic behavior than the University of Michigan’s which polls many of the same individuals every month.
Why is it important?
Consumer confidence surveys are key indicators of the overall health of the economy. When people feel confident about the stability of their incomes it influences their spending and saving activities.
A pessimistic consumer worries investors in the U.S. markets. It raises the probability of falling interest rates and a weakening economy, both of which are detrimental to the dollar’s value.
Investors might sell the dollar and look for higher yields and a stronger economy elsewhere.
An optimistic consumer can raise interest rates and the stock market returns to levels that provide a higher return relative to other countries in the world.
This would result in increased demand for the U.S. dollar.
Where to find it?
The Conference Board is a subscription-based service, and unfortunately, the data does not appear on most economic calendars.
The best way to find is to simply Google “Consumer confidence”.
The Consumer Confidence Index measures how consumers feel about the economy, jobs, and spending.
Happy consumers are more likely to shop, travel, and keep the economy strong. Unhappy consumers become protective of their wallets which is bad for the economy.
This report can occasionally be helpful in predicting sudden shifts in consumption patterns. And since consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the economy, it gives us insights into the direction of the economy.
The Conference Board
It is released at 10:00 am EST on the last Tuesday of the month being surveyed.
Minor revisions can occur as more survey results are collected and processed.
The Index of Consumer Confidence, more commonly referred to as the CCI or Consumer Confidence Index is a monthly report issued by an independent economic research organization called The Conference Board.
The CCI is based on statistical data gathered from five thousand households and is considered an accurate measurement of how the general public view the United States economy for that month and even goes as far as to involve calculating the number of “help wanted” advertisements in local newspapers in order to determine just how tight the job market really is.
This measurement is thought to be highly indicative of the consumption component of the gross domestic product and the Federal Reserve consults the CCI when seeking to determine changes to interest rates. The CCI also has the power to affect prices on the stock market.
The base confidence level of the CCI is set at 100, as decided at the beginning of the index in 1985. The Conference Board is known to declare an economic recession whenever there occur two or more consecutive quarters where the confidence levels fall below 100.
The data contained in the CCI is of a timely nature and is considered to be a predictor of movements in the business cycle. Although it bears remembering however that the report is just a survey and there is no actual data series to take figures from as only “planned spending” is collected as opposed to actual dollars spent, meaning that the CCI is unable to forecast the future.