Consumer Confidence Improves In August - Twice

Consumer Confidence Improves In August

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New York - The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index,

which had declined in July, improved moderately in August.

The Index now stands at 53.5, up from 51 in July. The Present Situation Index decreased to 24.9 from 26.4. The Expectations Index increased to 72.5 from 67.5 last month.

Lynn Franco, The Conference Board Consumer Research Center director, said in a statement, "Consumer confidence posted a modest gain in August, the result of an improvement in consumers' short-term outlook.  Consumers' assessment of current conditions, however, was less favorable as employment concerns continue to weigh heavily on consumers' attitudes. Expectations about future business and labor market conditions have brightened somewhat, but overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future.  All in all, consumers are about as confident today as they were a year ago (Aug. 2009, 54.5)."

Consumers' appraisal of current conditions continued to weaken in August. Those claiming business conditions are "good" decreased to 8.7 percent from 8.8 percent. However, those stating business conditions are "bad" declined to 41.9 percent from 43.3 percent. Consumers' assessment of the labor market deteriorated further. Those saying jobs are "hard to get" increased to 45.7 percent from 45.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are "plentiful" declined to 3.8 percent from 4.4 percent.

Consumers' expectations improved moderately in August, but, overall, they remain pessimistic. Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions over the next six months increased to 17 percent from 15.8 percent, while those anticipating conditions will worsen declined to 13.4 percent from 15.3 percent.

The Consumer Confidence Survey

is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. The cutoff date for August's preliminary results was August 24.

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