Consumer Confidence Index climbs to five-year high

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has climbed for a third straight month to reach its highest point in more than five years.

The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index jumped more than seven points in June to 81.4. The index has risen to its highest level since standing at 87.3 in January 2008.

“Consumers are considerably more positive about current business and labor conditions than they were at the beginning of the year,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

“Expectations have also improved considerable over the past several months, suggesting that the pace of growth is unlikely to slow in the short-term and may even moderately pick up,” Franco added.

The Conference Board, a business research and membership group, bases the CCI on the results of monthly surveys of U.S. households.

Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the country.

More upbeat assessments of current business and labor conditions pushed the present situation component of the CCI more than four points to 69.2 in May.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the June CCI was based who characterized business conditions as “good” remained unchanged at 19.1 percent. The share of those who called conditions “bad” fell more than a point to 24.9 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” rose nearly two points to 11.7 percent. The share of those who insisted jobs are “hard to get” edged up a half point to 36.9 percent.

Consumers’ short-term outlooks also improved, pushing up the expectations component of the CCI almost nine points to 89.5 in June.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months increased nearly two points to 20.3 percent. The proportion of those who said they anticipate worsening conditions fell almost a point to 11.4 percent

  The share of consumers who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months advanced more than three points to 19.6 percent. The proportion of those who forecast fewer jobs fell nearly four points to 16.1 percent.

While 15.2 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase, 14.4 percent anticipate a decrease.