The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence and Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment indices both fell in December on worries about the Fiscal Cliff, automatic spending cuts and tax increases that were set to fall into place on Jan. 1.
While consumer anxiety over tax increases and spending cuts rose, many still felt their current economic and employment situation had improved compared to the previous month. The Consumer Confidence Index fell 6.4 points in December and the Expectations Index dropped 14.4 points over concerns, but consumer evaluation of their current situation climbed 5.4 points.
Housing data from the Commerce department released on Thursday seemed unaffected by fiscal cliff issues. The number of building permits issued was up 29 percent, year-over-year, and housing starts were up 37 percent in December, as well.