U.S. consumer confidence increases in August

Consumer confidence increased in August as consumers' assessment of current conditions improved, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® increased to 122.9, up from 120 in July. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a crucial part of a strong rebound.

The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are "good" increased from 32.5 percent to 34.5 percent, while those saying business conditions are "bad" decreased slightly from 13.5 percent to 13.1 percent. Consumers' assessment of the labor market also was more positive. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" increased 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 in August remained about the same. The number of consumers expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months decreased from 22.4 percent to 19.6 percent, but those expecting business conditions to worsen also declined from 8.4 percent to 7.3 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was 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 slightly from 13.2 percent to 13 percent.

"Consumer confidence increased in August following a moderate improvement in July," says 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 (July 2001, 151.3). 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."

Date : 9/1/2017