Consumer Reports Index, measuring the overall financial health of consumers, reflected an improving outlook among consumers, with better numbers in terms of employment and consumer sentiment and lower levels of consumer stress.
The CR Sentiment Index was up from 45.4 in December to 48.2 in January 2012, and remains negative, but CR said that, with ongoing employment improvement, the Sentiment Index could top 50 and become positive in the coming months.
The CR Past 30-Day Retail Index was up from 13.9 in the December report to 15.0 in the January report, reflecting spending during the holidays. Personal electronics were the biggest driver in the increase. In the December report, 31.4% of consumers reported making personal electronics purchase in the previous 30 days. The percentage had risen to 35.8% in the January 2012 report.
The CR Next 30-Day Retail Index was down, reflecting the drop in spending following the holiday season. This index, reflecting planned purchasing in January, was down from 12.7 in the previous report to 7.9.
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