Consumer confidence has fought back from the gloom that enveloped the nation following the events of Sept. 11. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rose by a strong 10.4 percent during the final month of 2001, following steep losses during both September and October and a marginal 0.5 percent decline in November. The CCI had fallen for five consecutive months before December's bounce back.
In reviewing responses to the variety of survey questions that comprise the composite CCI measure, Conference Board analysts said that the deterioration in economic conditions appeared to be reaching a plateau as 2001 came to a close, due largely to a stabilizing employment scenario. Consumers' short-term optimism was no longer at recession levels during December, and the incipient upward trend signals that the economy as a whole may be close to bottoming out. This provides support for the widely held view that the economic recovery will become firmly established by mid-2002.
Consumers' buying plans for products and services during the next six months also improved.