Consumer Confidence

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index ® (CCI) is a barometer of the health of the U.S. economy from the perspective of the consumer. The index is based on consumers’ perceptions of current business and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for six months hence regarding business conditions, employment, and income. The Consumer Confidence Index and its related series are among the earliest sets of economic indicators available each month and are closely watched as leading indicators for the U.S. economy. The index has two components and five sub components.

1) The Present Situation Index
          a. Respondents’ appraisal of current business conditions.
          b. Respondents’ appraisal of current employment conditions.

2) The Expectations Index
          c. Respondents’ expectations regarding business conditions six months hence.
          d. Respondents’ expectations regarding employment conditions six months hence.
          e. Respondents’ expectations regarding their total family income six months hence.

The CCS mailing is scheduled so that the questionnaires reach sample households on or about the first of each month. Returns flow in throughout the collection period, with the sample close-out for preliminary estimates occurring around the eighteenth of the month. Any returns received after then are used to produce the final estimates for the month, which are published with the release of the following month’s data. Completed questionnaires are checked in as they are received and then scheduled for data entry. Data fields are edited for invalid entries and, if necessary, are flagged for review. As part of the ongoing quality control process, a random sample of questionnaires is selected for independent review/validation by a senior member of the data collection staff. The targeted responding sample size—approximately 3,000 completed questionnaires—has remained essentially unchanged since 1967 when the survey began. As of February 2011, The Conference Board changed to The Nielsen Company for ongoing CCS operational support. Nielsen uses a mail survey specifically designed for the Consumer Confidence Survey. The new design uses a probability-design random sample, post-stratification weights (for gender, income, geography, and age), and the U.S. Census X-12 seasonal adjustment.

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