By Xavier Fontdegloria


Consumer confidence in the U.S. rose in January as expectations for the economy and the labor market improved, according to data from The Conference Board released Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index increased to 89.3 in January from a downwardly revised 87.1 in December. The reading beats economists estimates, who polled by The Wall Street Journal expected consumer sentiment to decrease slightly to 88.0.

January marks the first uptick in consumer confidence after three consecutive months of declines for the index. However, it remains far from the 101.4 pandemic high registered in October and from February's pre-pandemic levels of 132.6.

The uptick in confidence was driven by a more upbeat consumers' outlook for the economy and jobs, suggesting that consumers foresee conditions improving in the not-too-distant future, said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

However, "consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions weakened further in January, with Covid-19 still the major suppressor," she said.

The present situation index, which reflects consumers assessment of current business and labor market conditions, fell to 84.4 from 87.2 the previous month. The expectations index, which gauges short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, increased to 92.5 in January from 87.0 in December.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions and the labor market will improve over the next six months increased moderately, the data shows.

"In addition, the percent of consumers who said they intend to purchase a home in the next six months improved, suggesting that the pace of home sales should remain robust in early 2021," Ms. Franco said.


Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 26, 2021 10:29 ET (15:29 GMT)

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