Survey News: Consumer Confidence Inches Up in August

Despite the dog days of August, consumer confidence has perked up slightly. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index, which had fallen in July from June levels, edged back from 77.0 to 81.3 in August. Even better, the Board’s expectations index jumped from 86.3 in July to 94.4 in August, though the present situation index fell slightly from 63.0 to 61.6.

Current business conditions remain lackluster: Those rating present business conditions as “bad” rose from 30.2% to 30.9%, while those with the opposite view fell from 16.5% to 15.9%. Those reporting that jobs are hard to get rose from 32.7% to 34.1% in August, while those claiming that jobs are “plentiful” increased from 10.7% to 11.1%. Another favorable finding: Consumers anticipating the job market to improve in the coming months rose from 16.6% to 18%, while those expecting fewer jobs to become available dropped from 19.6% to 18.6%.

The Board’s survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. “Growing optimism about the economy over the next six months echoes the latest gain in the leading economic index,” said Conference Board director Lynn Franco in a statement. “Continued optimism will depend on positive developments in the labor market.”

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