U.S. consumer confidence ebbs in January; inflation expectations rise

FILE PHOTO: A woman carries shopping bags during the holiday season in New York

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in January as households continued to worry about the economy’s prospects over the next six months, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slipped to 107.1 this month from 109.0 in December. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index at 109.0. The survey places more emphasis on the labor market, which remains tight.

Consumers’ 12-month inflation expectations rose to 6.8% from 6.6% last month.

The present situation index, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, increased to 150.9 from 147.4 last month. But the expectations index, based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, dropped to 77.8 from 83.4 in December.

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This measure is below 80, a level The Conference Board says was associated with recession.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)