Consumer Confidence increased slightly in August, a result of improving short-term expectations, with consumers moderately more upbeat about business, job and earning prospects, says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.
"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,” Franco says.
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions moderately declined. Those stating business conditions are “good” decreased to 18.4 percent from 20.8 percent, while those stating business conditions are “bad” was virtually unchanged at 24.8 percent, the Conference Board said.
Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was mixed. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 11.4 percent from 12.3 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined to 33.0 percent from 35.2 percent.
The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in July, increased slightly in August. The Index now stands at 81.5 (1985=100), up from 81.0 in July. The Present Situation Index decreased to 70.7 from 73.6. The Expectations Index increased to 88.7 from 86.0 last month.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 15.
Consumers’ expectations, which had retreated in July, increased in August, the Conference Board said. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up to 20.1 percent from 19.9 percent. Those expecting business conditions to worsen declined slightly to 11.1 percent from 11.3 percent.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market remained upbeat. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 17.6 percent from 16.7 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged down to 17.3 percent from 17.7 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase improved to 17.4 percent from 15.7 percent. Those expecting a decrease declined slightly to 13.5 percent from 13.7 percent.