The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is an indicator designed to measure consumer confidence, which is defined as the degree of optimism on the state of the economy that consumers are expressing through their activities of savings and spending. Global consumer confidence is not measured. Country by country analysis indicates huge variance around the globe. In an interconnected global economy, tracking international consumer confidence is a lead indicator of economic trends.
In the United States consumer confidence is issued monthly by The Conference Board, an independent economic research organization, and is based on 5,000 households. Such measurement is indicative of consumption component level of the gross domestic product. The Federal Reserve looks at the CCI when determining interest rate changes, and it also affects stock market prices.
The Consumer Confidence Index was started in 1967 and is benchmarked to 1985=100. This year was chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough. The Index is calculated each month on the basis of a household survey of consumers' opinions on current conditions and future expectations of the economy. Opinions on current conditions make up 40% of the index, with expectations of future conditions comprising the remaining 60%. In the glossary on its website, The Conference Board defines the Consumer Confidence Survey as "a monthly report detailing consumer attitudes and buying intentions, with data available by age, income and region".
Another well-established index that measures consumer confidence is the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, run by University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.
In simple terms, increased consumer confidence indicates economic growth in which consumers are spending money, indicating higher consumption. Decreasing consumer confidence implies slowing economic growth, and so consumers are likely to decrease their spending. The idea is that the more confident people feel about the economy and their jobs and incomes, the more likely they are to make purchases. Declining consumer confidence is a sign of slowing economic growth and may indicate that the economy is headed into trouble.
Each month The Conference Board surveys 5,000 U.S. households. The survey consists of five questions that ask the respondents' opinions about the following:
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