Consumer Confidence Strength Driven by Today Rather Than Tomorrow

The Conference Board has released its reading on Consumer confidence for the month of August. This is much broader than the recent consumer sentiment reading. Tuesday’s headline reading “Improves Again” may be a bit of a severe understatement.

The August Consumer Confidence Index rose to 92.4 from an already strong reading of 90.3 in July. The number was handily above expectations as the Bloomberg consensus was at 89.5. We would note that the cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 14, so there has been 12 days since the last survey was received.

Disclosed in the component readings was that the Present Situation Index rose to 94.6 from 87.9 and the Expectations Index fell to 90.9 from 91.9 in July.

The Conference Board said:

Consumer confidence increased for the fourth consecutive month as improving business conditions and robust job growth helped boost consumers’ spirits. 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.

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Individual notes were as follows:

  • Those saying business conditions are “good” rose to 23.9% from 23.3%.
  • Those claiming business conditions are “bad” fell to 21.5% from 22.8%.
  • Those claiming that jobs are “plentiful” rose to 18.2% from 15.6%.
  • Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” dropped to 30.6% from 30.9%.
  • Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months held steady at 20.4%.
  • Those expecting business conditions to worsen fell to 10.2% from 12.1%.
  • Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead fell to 17.0% from 18.7%.
  • Those anticipating fewer jobs also declined to 15.8% from 16.6%.
  • Those expecting their incomes to grow fell to 15.5% in August, versus 17.7% in July.
  • Those expecting a drop in their incomes came to 11.9% in August, versus 11.1% in July.