PhotoThe Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index is at its highest level in nearly a year.

After falling slightly in July, the Index now stands at 101.1, a gain of 4.4. The Present Situation Index rose from 118.8 to 123.0, while the Expectations Index improved to 86.4 from 82.0.

“Consumers’ assessment of both current business and labor market conditions was considerably more favorable than last month,” said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco. “Short-term expectations regarding business and employment conditions, as well as personal income prospects, also improved, suggesting the possibility of a moderate pick-up in growth in the coming months.”

Current conditions outlook

Consumers who think business conditions are “good” increased from 27.3% to 30.0%, while the proportion of those who see the opposite was unchanged at 18.4%.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more favorable. Those saying jobs are more “plentiful” increased from 23.0% to 26.0%. At the same time, however, those who believe jobs are “hard to get” also rose -- to 23.4% from 22.1%.

Looking ahead

There was more optimism regarding the short-term outlook in August. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 15.7% to 17.3%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen dropped from 12.4% to 11.1%.

The outlook for the labor market was more favorable than in July. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose from 13.5% to 14.2%, while those anticipating losses held steady at 17.5%.

The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to rise went from 17.1% to 18.8%, while those expecting a decline were down marginally to 10.7% from 11.0%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 18.

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