PhotoConsumers appear to have regained their sense of confidence in the economy.

The Conference Board reports its Consumer Confidence Index was up for a second straight month in August following two months of declines.

This month's Index reading was 122.9 -- up from 2.9 points from July. The Present Situation Index jumped to 151.2 from last month's reading of 145.4, and the Expectations Index rose one point to 104.0.

“Consumers’ more buoyant assessment of present-day conditions was the primary driver of the boost in confidence, with the Present Situation Index continuing to hover at a 16-year high," said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco. "Consumers’ short-term expectations were relatively flat, though still optimistic, suggesting that they do not anticipate an acceleration in the pace of economic activity in the months ahead.”

The consumers' view

There was further improvement in August in the way consumers see current conditions.

Those who think business conditions are “good” rose from 32.5% to 34.5%, while those who believe they're “bad” slipped from 13.5% to 13.1%.

The assessment of the labor market was also more upbeat. The percentage of people saying jobs are “plentiful” went to 35.4% from 33.2%; while those who think jobs are “hard to get” fell from 18.7% to 17.3%.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook was relatively flat, with the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declining from 22.4% to 19.6%. At the same time, though, those expecting business conditions to get worse also went down -- to 7.3% from 8.4%.

The outlook for the labor market was also mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead dropped from 18.5% to 17.1%, while those anticipating fewer jobs slipped to 13.0% from 13.2%.

When it comes to short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose a tad -- to 20.9% from 20.0% -- while the proportion expecting a decline fell from 9.5% to 7.8%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 16.


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