Consumer confidence jumps as Americans expect 2017 momentum to continue

Key Points
  • Consumer optimism rose in January to 125.4.
  • Economists polled by Reuters expected an increase to 123.1.
  • In November the index hit the highest mark since registering 132.6 in November 2000.

Consumer optimism pushed higher than anticipated in January, after a surprise decline the previous month.

The Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence rose to 125.4 in January, higher than the 123.1 anticipated by economists polled by Reuters. The measure had declined to 122.1 in December.

The key index rose to 129.5 in November, the highest mark since the index hit 132.6 in November 2000.'

"Expectations improved, though consumers were somewhat ambivalent about their income prospects over the coming months, perhaps the result of some uncertainty regarding the impact of the tax plan," Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

"Consumers remain quite confident that the solid pace of growth seen in late 2017 will continue into 2018," Franco said.

The index takes into account Americans' views of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Economists pay close attention to the numbers because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.