Consumer confidence climbs sharply in August

Consumer confidence bounced back in August as The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to its highest level since January.
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Consumer confidence bounced back in August as The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to its highest level since January.

The index stands at 101.5, up from 91.0 in July, the New York-based research group said today. The cutoff date for preliminary results from its monthly survey was Aug. 13, which preceded the stock market slump that began last week and continued Monday.

The index had fallen nearly nine points in July from a June reading of 99.8.

“Consumer confidence rebounded in August, following a sharp decline in July,” The Conference Board director of economic indicators Lynn Franco said in a statement.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was considerably more upbeat, primarily due to a more favorable appraisal of the labor market. The uncertainty expressed last month about the short-term outlook has dissipated and consumers are once again feeling optimistic about the near future. Income expectations, however, were little improved.”

The Conference Board said consumers’ assessment of current conditions was considerably more favorable in August. Those who said business conditions are “good” decreased marginally from 23.4 percent to 23.2 percent. Those who said business conditions are “bad” declined modestly from 18.2 percent to 17.6 percent.

Consumers were considerably more positive about the job market. Those who said jobs are “plentiful” increased from 19.9 percent to 21.9 percent and those who said jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 27.4 percent to 21.9 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook also improved in August. The percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to improve during the next six months increased slightly, from 15.3 percent to 15.8 percent; those who expect business conditions to worsen declined from 10.3 percent to 8.3 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was more upbeat. Those who anticipate anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased from 13.7 percent to 14.6 percent and those who anticipate fewer jobs decreased sharply from 19 percent to 13.6 percent.

The proportion of consumers who expect their income to increase declined moderately, from 17 percent to 16.2 percent, and the proportion that expects a decline decreased from 11.3 percent to 10 percent.

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