The Conference Board conducts a monthly survey of 5000 households to
ascertain the level of consumer confidence. The report can occasionally be
helpful in predicting sudden shifts in consumption patterns, though most small
changes in the index are just noise. Only index changes of at least five points
should be considered significant.
The index consists of two subindices - consumers' appraisal of current conditions and their expectations for the future. Expectations make up 60% of the total index, with current conditions accounting for the other 40%. The expectations index is typically seen as having better leading indicator qualities than the current conditions index.