Consumer Confidence Index rises

Lynn Franco

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has edged up on more optimistic expectations for business and labor conditions.

“Consumers’ short-term expectations improved, and when coupled with solid employment growth, should be enough to continue to support spending and economic growth in the near term,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators for the Conference Board.

The business research and membership association reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose three-tenths of a point to 130.7 in February.

The index is based on the results of monthly household surveys. Economists monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.

Less upbeat assessments of current business and labor conditions pulled down the presentation situation component of the index 8.8 points to 165.1.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the index was based who described business conditions as “good” fell 1.4 points to 38.6 percent. The share of those who characterized conditions as “bad” rose 1.5 points to 11.9 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” fell 2.6 points to 44.6 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to find” rose 2.9 points to 14.8 percent.

The short-term outlook pushed up the expectations component of the index 6.4 points to 107.8.

The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose two points to 20.4 percent. The proportion of those who said they expect worsening conditions fell 1.2 points to 7.4 percent.

The share of consumers who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months edged down three-tenths of a point to 16.2 percent. The proportion of those who expect fewer jobs decreased more — 1.8 points to 11.1 percent.

While 22 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase, up four-tenths of a point, the share of those who expected decreasing incomes declined 1.3 points to 6.7 percent.