Consumer confidence hits seven-year high

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The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index improved again in August, reaching its highest level since October 2007.

The index stands at 92.4, up from 90.3 in July.

“Consumer confidence increased for the fourth consecutive month as improving business conditions and robust job growth helped boost consumers’ spirits,” The Conference Board director of economic indicators Lynn Franco said in a statement.

“Looking ahead, consumers were marginally less optimistic about the short-term outlook, compared to July, primarily due to concerns about their earnings. Overall, however, they remain quite positive about the short-term outlooks for the economy and labor market.”

The Conference Board said consumers’ appraisal of current conditions continued to improve through August. Those who said business conditions are “good” edged up to 23.9 percent from 23.3 percent, and those who said business conditions are “bad” declined to 21.5 percent from 22.8 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the job market was also more positive. Those who said jobs are “plentiful” increased to 18.2 percent from 15.6 percent, and those who said jobs are “hard to get” declined marginally, to 30.6 percent, from 30.9 percent.

Consumers were slightly less optimistic in August about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to improve during the next six months held steady at 20.4 percent, and those who expect business conditions to worsen fell to 10.2 percent from 12.1 percent.

Consumers, however, were somewhat mixed about the outlook for the labor market. Those who anticipate more jobs in the months ahead fell to 17.0 percent from 18.7 percent, although those who anticipate fewer jobs also declined, to 15.8 percent from 16.6 percent.

Fewer consumers expect their income to grow — 15.5 percent in August versus 17.7 percent in July — and those who expect a drop in their income rose marginally, to 11.9 percent from 11.1 percent.