Consumer Confidence Continues to Improve in August

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Consumer confidence continued to improve in August. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased to 122.9 from 121.1 in June. Bloomberg had consensus estimates calling for the index to back off to 120.6, in a range of 118.0 to 124.4.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook was relatively flat in August. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 19.6% from 22.4%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 8.4% to 7.3%.

Separately, consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 17.1% from 18.5%, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased marginally from 13.2% to 13.0%.

Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement increased moderately from 20.0% to 20.9%, while the proportion expecting a decline decreased from 9.5% to 7.8%.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, commented:

Consumer confidence increased in August following a moderate improvement in July. Consumers’ more buoyant assessment of present-day conditions was the primary driver of the boost in confidence, with the Present Situation Index continuing to hover at a 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3). Consumers’ short-term expectations were relatively flat, though still optimistic, suggesting that they do not anticipate an acceleration in the pace of economic activity in the months ahead.