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Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Inches Up In August

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased slightly in August, the organization announced. The index had declined in July, it noted.

The Index now stands at 81.5 with 100 being a measure of a positive economic outlook. It gained from 81 in July.

The Present Situation Index decreased to 70.7 from 73.6. The Expectations Index increased to 88.7 from 86 last month.

Fewer consumers stated that business conditions are good, down to 18.4% from 20.8%, while the proportion of consumers that said business conditions are bad remained essentially unchanged at 24.8%, the Conference Board maintained. Consumer appraisal of the labor market was mixed, it added. Those claiming jobs are plentiful decreased to 11.4% from 12.3%, while those claiming jobs are hard to get declined to 33% from 35.2%.

The proportion of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up to 20.1% from 19.9%. Those expecting business conditions to worsen declined slightly to 11.1% from 11.3%.

The figure for consumers anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 17.6% from 16.7%, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged down to 17.3% from 17.7%. The proportion of consumers expecting an income increase improved to 17.4% from 15.7% while that anticipating a decrease declined slightly to 13.5% from 13.7%.

Lynn Franco, Conference Board director of economic indicators commented on the announcement, saying, “Consumer Confidence increased slightly in August, a result of improving short-term expectations. Consumers were moderately more upbeat about business, job and earning prospects. In fact, income expectations, which had declined sharply earlier this year with the payroll tax hike, have rebounded to their highest level in two and a half years. Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, on the other hand, was somewhat less favorable than last month.”