More good economic news Thursday in a week of largely good economic news thus far. Registering the highest reading since September 2008, the RBC Consumer Outlook Index increased 3.2 points to 45.2 in December (42.0 in November) as a result of improved conditions, employment security, expectations and investment attitudes. Consumer confidence has been on the rise for three months in a row and has broken through the top of the recent range. However, despite the recent improvements in consumer sentiment, the RBC index remains well below its long-term average of 50 points and continues to reflect a very modest economic recovery.
"Consumers are entering the holiday season with greater hope and optimism than at any point since September 2008 – just before the global financial crisis hit a fever pitch—closing out 2010 on a high note," said Marc Harris, Co-Head of Global Research at RBC Capital Markets, in a statement. "Although the RBC Consumer Outlook Index witnessed a sharp improvement this month, it still reads below the long-term average, which is in line with what we believe will continue to be a backdrop of cautious consumer spending."