Consumer Confidence Improves in February

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® improved to 70.4  in February (1985=100), up from 64.8 in January. The Present Situation Index improved to 33.4 from 31.1, and the Expectations Index increased to 95.1 from 87.3 last month.

“The Consumer Confidence Index is now at a three-year high, due to growing optimism about the short-term future,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.  “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak. Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved moderately in February. Those stating business conditions are “good” increased to 12.4 percent from 11.3 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” was unchanged at 39.6 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive than in January. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” rose to 4.9 percent from 4.6 percent, while those stating jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 45.7 percent from 47.0 percent.

Consumers were mixed about the job market. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged down to 19.8 percent from 20.8 percent; however, those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 15.4 percent from 21.2 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes rose to 17.3 percent from 15.3 percent.