Consumer confidence up slightly in August

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The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in July, improved moderately in August.

The index now stands at 53.5, up from 51 in July. The Present Situation Index decreased to 24.9 from 26.4. The Expectations Index increased to 72.5 from 67.5 last month.

“Consumer confidence posted a modest gain in August, the result of an improvement in consumers’ short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, however, was less favorable as employment concerns continue to weigh heavily on consumers’ attitudes,” Franco added. “Expectations about future business and labor market conditions have brightened somewhat, but overall consumers remain apprehensive about the future. All in all, consumers are about as confident today as they were a year ago.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions continued to weaken in August. Those who say business conditions are “good” decreased to 8.7 percent from 8.8 percent. However, those who say business conditions are “bad” declined to 41.9 percent from 43.3 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market deteriorated further. Those saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 45.7 percent from 45.1 percent and those who say jobs are “plentiful” declined to 3.8 percent from 4.4 percent.

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