Index: Consumer confidence rebounds

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions.

The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index jumped more than 10 points to 101.5 in August. Separate measures tracking both current assessments of business and labor conditions and expectations for the near future also increased.

The overall gain more than offset a nearly nine-point drop in  July. The survey upon which the latest index results were based was completed well before fears about an economic slowdown in China triggered volatility in the United States stock market.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was considerably more upbeat, primarily due to a more favorable appraisal of the labor market. The uncertainty expressed last month about the short-term outlook has dissipated, and consumers are once again feeling optimistic about the near future,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

The business research and membership group bases the index on monthly surveys of U.S. households. Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of activity in the economy.

The present situation component of the index advanced more than 11 points to 115.1 in August.

The share of consumers who described business conditions as “good” edged down two-tenths of a point to 23.2 percent. But the proportion of those who called business conditions “bad” fell six-tenths of a point to 17.6 percent.

The share of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” rose two points to 21.9 percent. The proportion of those who said jobs are “hard to get”  fell 5.5 points to 21.9 percent.

The expectations component of the index increased more than 10 points to 92.5.

The proportion of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose a half point to 15.8 percent. The share of those who expect worsening conditions fell two points to 8.3 percent.

The proportion of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months increased nearly a point to 14.6 percent. The share of those who believe fewer jobs will be available dropped 5.4 points to 13.6 percent.

While 16.2 percent of consumers expect their incomes to rise, down eight-tenths of a point, 10 percent anticipate a decline, down 1.3 points.