The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in February, following a modest increase in January, according to the latest report from The Conference Board. The Index now stands at 130.8, up from 124.3 in January. The Present Situation Index increased from 154.7 to 162.4, while the Expectations Index improved from 104 last month to 109.7 this month.
“Consumer confidence improved to its highest level since 2000 (Nov. 2000, 132.6) after a modest increase in January,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more favorable this month, with the labor force the main driver. Despite the recent stock market volatility, consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term prospects for business and labor market conditions, as well as their financial prospects. Overall, consumers remain quite confident that the economy will continue expanding at a strong pace in the months ahead.”
Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in February. Consumers’ assessment of business conditions was moderately more positive than in January. The percentage saying business conditions are “good” increased slightly from 35 percent to 35.8 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 13 percent to 10.8 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was considerably more favorable. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased from 37.2 percent to 39.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 16.3 percent to 14.7 percent.
Consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook in February. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 21.5 percent to 25.8 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent.
Consumers’ outlook for the job market was also more positive. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.7 percent to 21.6 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 12.5 percent to 11.9 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement increased from 20.6 percent to 23.8 percent, however, the proportion expecting a decrease also rose, from 7.9 percent to 8.6 percent.