Strength in the assessment of the jobs market and optimism on income underpin a solid 9.3 point rise in the December consumer confidence report to 64.5 for the best reading in eight months (prior revised to 55.2). Those saying jobs are currently hard to get are down to 41.8 percent for the lowest level of the recovery. And for the first time since April, there are more optimists, 17.1 percent, than pessimists, 14.4 percent, when it comes to their own income outlook. Confidence in future income should be a positive for the holiday shopping season.
Most of the details in today's report are positive. More say jobs are currently plentiful, 6.7 percent, and more see more jobs ahead, 13.3 percent. Less, 20.2 percent, see fewer jobs ahead. Higher oil prices have yet to be passed through to consumers who see less inflation ahead, at 5.4 percent vs November's 5.6 percent.
The jobs data in this report confirm the improvement underway in weekly jobless claims and will help boost expectations for the December employment report. The stock market is firming in early reaction to today's report.