What is the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI)?

The Consumer Confidence Index is a survey, administered by The Conference Board, that measures how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are regarding their expected financial situation.

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Consumer Confidence Index

Understanding the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI)

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is based on the premise that if consumers are optimistic, they tend to purchase more goods and services, which should, inevitably, stimulate the whole economy.

Key Takeaways

  • The Consumer Confidence Index is a survey, administered by The Conference Board, that measures how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are regarding their expected financial situation.
  • The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is based on the premise that if consumers are optimistic, they tend to purchase more goods and services, which should, inevitably, stimulate the whole economy.
  • The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is based on the Consumer Confidence Survey, which is a survey of 5,000 households, and is released on the last Tuesday of every month.

The CCI is released on the last Tuesday of every month and is widely regarded as the most credible gauge of U.S. consumer confidence. Essentially, it is a barometer of the health of the U.S. economy and is based on consumers perceptions of current business and employment condition, and their expectations for business, employment, and income for the next six months. It is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics on consumers' buying and watching habits.

The Consumer Confidence Index is based on the Consumer Confidence Survey, which is a survey of 5,000 households. The survey was first conducted in 1967 every two months. It changed to monthly tracking in 1977. There are five questions asked: two related to present economic conditions and three related to future expectations. Each response can be answered with one of three responses: positive, negative, or neutral. There is also a present situation index, which is an average of two questions related to current economic conditions. The responses to the other three questions form the basis for the expectations index. The index was set to 100 in 1985.

CCI: A Leading Indicator

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) considers consumer confidence a leading indicator and the CCI fits that bill as the leading economic indicator for the U.S. economy. Leading indicators provide qualitative information used to monitor the current economic situation and as a warning of turning points in economic activity.

In July 2019, The Conference Board announced that CCI increased to 135.7 from the prior reading of 124.3 in June 2019. The "present situation" index increased from 164.3 to 170.9, while the "expectations" index increased from 97.6 in June 2019 to 112.2 in July 2019. Consumer confidence rebounded in July 2019 after declining precipitously in June 2019 on the heels of an escalation of trade tensions with China.

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association. It was formed in 1916 and its mission is to provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Board is designed to help its members understand and navigate the most critical issues of the present time. The Board also conducts research and forums where business leaders convene. These insights feed into its research and meeting agendas.