Consumer confidence improves in August

The Conference Board said today that its Consumer Confidence Index in August to its highest level in nearly a year.
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The Conference Board said today that its Consumer Confidence Index in August to its highest level in nearly a year.

The index now stands at 101.1 compared with 96.7 in July. The reading was the best since September of last year. Economists’ median forecast was for a reading of 97.

“Consumers’ assessment of both current business and labor market conditions was considerably more favorable than last month,” The Conference Board director of economic indicators Lynn Franco said in a statement.

“Short-term expectations regarding business and employment conditions, as well as personal income prospects, also improved, suggesting the possibility of a moderate pickup in growth in the coming months.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in August. Those who said business conditions are good increased from 27.3 percent to 30 percent and those who said conditions are bad remained virtually unchanged at 18.4 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more favorable. Those who said jobs were more “plentiful” increased from 23 percent to 26 percent, although those who said jobs are “hard to get” also rose — from 22.1 percent to 23.4 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook picked up in August. The percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to improve during the next six months increased from 15.7 percent to 17.3 percent; those who expect business conditions to worsen decreased from 12.4 percent to 11.1 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more favorable than in July. The proportion who expect more jobs in the months ahead rose from 13.5 percent to 14.2 percent and those who anticipate fewer jobs remained virtually unchanged at 17.5 percent.

The percentage of consumers who expect their income to increase improved from 17.1 percent to 18.8 percent; the proportion who expect a decline decreased marginally from 11 percent to 10.7 percent.

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