Confidence slips, but not by much
What goes up, must come down – at least most of the time.
That’s what happened to the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index in December, which slipped to 122.1, down from a 17-year high in November of 128.6.
The Present Situation Index increased from 154.9 to 156.6, while the Expectations Index declined from 111.0 last month to 99.1 this month.
[Read the Conference Board’s full release here.]
“Consumer confidence retreated in December after reaching a 17-year high in November,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The decline in confidence was fueled by a somewhat less optimistic outlook for business and job prospects in the coming months. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, however, improved moderately. Despite the decline in confidence, consumers’ expectations remain at historically strong levels, suggesting economic growth will continue well into 2018.”
Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions was slightly more positive in December. However, consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook declined sharply in December. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions to improve over the next six months declined from 23.1% to 20.2%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 6.7% to 9.2%.
Consumers’ outlook for the job market was also less upbeat than in November.
Readers Respond: Safety categories
Under the time-honored theory – “Better safe than sorry” – hardware stores, home centers and building supply dealers have served their customers by stocking categories to protect the home owner or contractor during their projects of varying degrees of difficulty.
The top sub-category, according to the latest HBSDealer poll: work gloves.
HBSDealer asked: “In the job-site safety category, what’s the sub-category that leads your store(s) in sales?”
The responses were as follows:
• 51%, work gloves;
• 15%, helmets or hard hats;
• 14%, goggles or safety glasses;
• 9%, visibility vests;
• 8%, harness equipment;
• 3%, other.
Some 125 readers participated in the poll, which remains open. Cast your vote here.