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Consumer confidence climbs again, raising hopes for better times ahead

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index improved in August for a second consecutive month.
After advancing moderately (to 51.9) in July, the index climbed to 56.9 in August.

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“Consumer confidence readings suggest that the economy remains stuck in neutral, but may be showing signs of improvement by early next year,” says Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center.

Franco, in a statement, indicated there are grounds for cautious optimism in two of the Conference Board’s other economic measuring tools. The Present Situation Index declined to 63.2 from 65.8 in July but the Expectations Index jumped to 52.8 from July’s reading of 42.7.

“Declines in the Present Situation Index, both in terms of business conditions and the labor market, appear to be moderating,” Franco says. “The Expectations Index, which posted a significant gain this month, suggests better times may be ahead. However, overall readings are still quite low by historical standards, and it is still too early to tell if the worst is behind us.”

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue.

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