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realDonaldTrump claimed in this tweet:

The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index for December surged nearly four points to 113.7, THE HIGHEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN 15 YEARS! Thanks Donald!

Did US Consumer Confidence Index rise up to the highest level in more than 15 years in December 2016?

  • Downvoters, may I know what's wrong with this post? Your feedback will help me improve it. – Sakib Arifin Dec 30 '16 at 2:44
  • Any chance someone could tell me what on earth a "consumer confidence index" is? Should I be surprised that it's higher than it was before? Is the methodology behind it sound and politically neutral? – IMSoP Dec 31 '16 at 10:59
  • I guess the reason I asked was that if the claim is "did this specific publicly available index reach this point?" then it's rather a trivial one. Other than "let's fact check every one of Donald Trump's tweets" (a fun game, but not the purpose of this site) what exactly are we being skeptical about? – IMSoP Dec 31 '16 at 11:10
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    @IMSoP more discussion on Meta: meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/3823/… – Sakib Arifin Dec 31 '16 at 11:25
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The claim is true.

Consumer Confidence Index is indeed at highest point since 2001, at 113.7.

Quoting from today's CCI page:

27 Dec. 2016 The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased considerably in November, posted another gain in December. The Index now stands at 113.7 (1985=100), up from 109.4 in November. The Expectations Index increased sharply from 94.4 to 105.5, but the Present Situation Index decreased from 132.0 last month to 126.1.

Note that the CCI directly attributes the rise to Trump:

Consumer Confidence improved further in December, due solely to increasing Expectations which hit a 13-year high (Dec. 2003, 107.4),” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The post-election surge in optimism for the economy, jobs and income prospects, as well as for stock prices which reached a 13-year high, was most pronounced among older consumers. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, which declined, still suggests that economic growth continued through the final months of 2016. Looking ahead to 2017, consumers’ continued optimism will depend on whether or not their expectations are realized.”

Please note that this direct source quote says "13 years" because it's outdated, and the latest index value is indeed 15 year high; as the chart shows.

D. Short of advisorperspectives[1] has a chart which was built using the CCI data used for the claim:

enter image description here

([1] - I'm using a secondary source for the graph since the primary source doesn't have historical data freely available. However, the main source quotes agree with the graph data when available, including Nov 2016 and Dec 2016 data points. Also, the ugly red MS-Paint-drawn red boxes and arrows are my fault :)


This is somewhat confirmed by University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index data, although the data there only shows 12 (or 13?) year high, not 15.

Consumer confidence surged in early December to just one-tenth of an Index point below the 2015 peak—which was the highest level since the start of 2004.

The surge was largely due to consumers' initial reactions to Trump's surprise victory. When asked what news they had heard of recent economic developments, more consumers spontaneously mentioned the expected positive impact of new economic policies than ever before recorded in the long history of the surveys. enter image description here


I deliberately omitted OECD data from the answer as it doesn't have December data available yet.


NOTE: While the claim is true, for full picture, it has to be noted that the graph was generally trending upwards at large scale since the 2009 minimum. OTOH, the graph was at a plateau level since 2013, and the UM quote shows that Trump's election is a direct cause of the ~9% jump in December 2016 from that plateau.

  • Soo, same conclusions different answer? Also thanks for the down vote. I would also take the links from the answer below and add them to yours so that they remain relevant. Especially the one from @ff524: conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm – TsSkTo Dec 29 '16 at 17:48
  • @TsSkTo - as you noted, that link has no historical data available, which is why I went with these graphs. And your conclusions were "data disagrees" for OECD (instead of "unknown due to no December data") and "Data Also disagrees (Kind of)" for Michigan instead of "Agrees but 13 instead of 15 years". That was primarily why I chose to make a separate answer, instead of vandalizing yours by posting opposite conclusions – user5341 Dec 29 '16 at 17:54
  • Eh. Can you at least change your answer to show that the Michigan data renders the claim disputed? 13 != 15. If you look further down (second graph) on your Michigan link you will see outliers which have been averaged into the curve. Comparing only data points make December 2015 > December 2016 – TsSkTo Dec 29 '16 at 18:09
  • @TsSkTo - the claim (considering it has a specific #) is clearly about CC data, not UM. UM data merely shows that it's not a fluke from one outlying measurement source. Also, didn't I already do that (although the data there only shows 12 (or 13?) year high, not 15). Saying it's "disputed" just because a secondary auxilary data source only confirms 13 instead of 15 years is lawyering of the highest degree, only good if your main goal is to score ideological points. Oh, and if you want to lawyer - the second data is Consumer Sentiment index, not Consumer Confidence index :) – user5341 Dec 29 '16 at 18:42
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    @JeffLambert Judging by the graph, the highest point he's alluding to is due to an upward trend over the past eight years, so this is another instance of the Pussy-Grabber Elect claiming credit for someone else's accomplishment. – Shadur Jan 1 '17 at 18:30
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OECD.org Data disagrees. (If you follow the link, you have to select the country you want and the date range) Note that the latest data point is November 2016.

OEDC Graph Last 25 years: US in red

OEDC Graph Last 5 years

University of Michigan Data Also disagrees (Kind of).(More graphs) Michigan Data Last 10 years Michigan Data. Last 50 years

It looks like we peaked in 2015 after an upward trend since the 2008 debacle. Do note that the monthly data from Michigan could be the source of the claim. See Here.

Conference-board.Org (Courtesy of @ff524) seems to confirm the claim:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased considerably in November, posted another gain in December. The Index now stands at 113.7 (1985=100), up from 109.4 in November. The Expectations Index increased sharply from 94.4 to 105.5, but the Present Situation Index decreased from 132.0 last month to 126.1.

However, all of the historical data is paywalled.

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    Those graphs just don't show the most recent numbers yet... source for December numbers – ff524 Dec 29 '16 at 15:34
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    (also, there no point in including graphs that only start later than 2001; the claim is about levels from 2001 through December 2016. To address the claim, you need to show that date range.) – ff524 Dec 29 '16 at 15:38
  • @ff524 From your source: “Consumer Confidence improved further in December, due solely to increasing Expectations which hit a 13-year high (Dec. 2003, 107.4),” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. (Emphasis Added) – TsSkTo Dec 29 '16 at 15:42
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    None of your graphs show the 113.7 number. They therefore do not show the data behind the claim. – ff524 Dec 29 '16 at 15:49
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    @TsSkTo - my point is, from data visualization perspective, the as-is charts you have seem misleading, and at first glance seem to contradict the claim. They either need to be cut off at 2001 (via MSPaint :) ; OR, add a "current level" and "previous max" visualization, like the graphs in my answer did. My concern isn't myself being misled (I go by text and numbers, not graphs) but thousands (if not millions, if this Q hits HNQ like pretty much all Trump questions seem to lately) of users reading your answer – user5341 Dec 29 '16 at 17:57

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