RAPAPORT... The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index®, was basically flat year on year in December 2012 at 65.1 points (1985=100), but the group noted a sharp drop from November's reading of 71.5 points. Nonetheless, the Present Situation Index rose 34 percent year on year to 62.8 points. The Expectations Index, however, fell 13 percent to 66.5 points.
Lynn Franco, the director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, explained that U.S. consumers’ expectations retreated sharply in December from November, primarily because of uncertainty surrounding the oncoming fiscal cliff outcome. ''A similar decline in expectations was experienced in August of 2011 during the debt ceiling discussions. While consumers are quite negative about the short-term outlook, they are more upbeat than last month about current business and labor market conditions,'' she said.
Consumers’ assessment of current business conditions improved slightly, but their appraisal of the labor market was mixed.