The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in July, improved further in August. The Index now stands at 92.4 (1985=100), up from 90.3 in July. The Present Situation Index increased to 94.6 from 87.9, while the Expectations Index edged down to 90.9 from 91.9 in July.
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions continued to improve through August. Those saying business conditions are “good” edged up to 23.9% from 23.3%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” declined to 21.5% from 22.8%. Consumers’ assessment of the job market was also more positive. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased to 18.2% from 15.6%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined marginally to 30.6% from 30.9%.
Consumers were slightly less optimistic in August about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months held steady at 20.4% while those expecting business conditions to worsen fell to 10.2% from 12.1%. Consumers, however, were somewhat mixed about the outlook for the labor market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead fell to 17.0% from 18.7%, although those anticipating fewer jobs also declined to 15.8% from 16.6%.
Fewer consumers expect their incomes to grow, 15.5% in August versus 17.7% in July, while those expecting a drop in their incomes rose marginally to 11.9% from 11.1%.
“Consumer confidence increased for the fourth consecutive month as improving business conditions and robust job growth helped boost consumers’ spirits,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “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 the labor market.”
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.
The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 14.