The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved to 122.9 in August, up from 120 in July. The Present Situation Index increased from 145.4 to 151.2, while the Expectations Index rose marginally from 103 last month to 104.
“Consumer confidence increased in August following a moderate improvement in July,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “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. 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.”
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved further in August. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased from 32.5 percent to 34.5 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” moderated from 13.5 percent to 13.1 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more upbeat. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 33.2 percent to 35.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 18.7 percent to 17.3 percent.
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 from 22.4 percent to 19.6 percent, but those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 8.4 percent to 7.3 percent.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined from 18.5 percent to 17.1 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased marginally from 13.2 percent to 13 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement increased moderately from 20 percent to 20.9 percent, while the proportion expecting a decline decreased from 9.5 percent to 7.8 percent.