A December 22 report from ABC News stated that consumer confidence approached the holiday on a high note, rising to match its best level of the year, including an advance in ratings of the buying climate to their best in 20 months.
In a sign of some hope for retailers, 30 percent of Americans said it was a good time to spend money, up 9 points since late October to the most since March 2008. Ratings of personal finance were also up, but views of the national economy pull confidence back down.
Overall, at -42 on its scale of +100 to -100, the report said the ABC News Consumer Comfort Index (CCI) is its best since May, up 5 points in two weeks, up 9 points from late October, and 12 points better than the all-time low it set last January. Even so, the CCI remains far below its long-term average, -12, and on track for its worst year on average in 24 years of weekly polls.
The index is based on views of the national economy, the buying climate, and personal finances. While the latter two have improved, ratings of the economy remain persistently negative: 7 percent say it's in good shape overall, 31 points below the long-term average, according to the report.
Half, by contrast, now say their own finances are in good shape, the most since May and up 7 points in five weeks. This measure is now just 7 points below average.
Ratings of the buying climate, similarly, are 7 points below average, and this is the first time they've reached 30 percent positive after a record 92-week stretch below that level.
The ABC News CCI also reported the following:
Seven percent of Americans rated the economy as excellent or good. The highest was 80 percent Jan. 16, 2000. The worst was 4 percent Feb. 8, 2009.
Half say their own finances are excellent or good. The best was 70 percent, last reached in January 2000. The worst was 39 percent June 28 and 21, 2009.
Thirty percent say it's an excellent or good time to buy things; The best was 57 percent on Jan. 16, 2000. The worst was 18 percent, last reached Oct. 19, 2008.
(Source: ABC News Internet Ventures)
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