A summer of consumer uncertainty is now generating a triple-digit reading of a closely watched Consumer Confidence Index.
The Conference Board index increased in August, following three consecutive monthly declines. The Index now stands at 103.2 (1985=100), up from 95.3 in July.
Other related indeces released Tuesdayy by the Conference Board incclude the Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions— which improved to 145.4 from 139.7 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—increased to 75.1 from 65.6.
“Consumer confidence increased in August after falling for three straight months,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index recorded a gain for the first time since March. The Expectations Index likewise improved from July’s 9-year low, but remains below a reading of 80, suggesting recession risks continue. Concerns about inflation continued their retreat but remained elevated.”
“Meanwhile, purchasing intentions increased after a July pullback, and vacation intentions reached an 8-month high. Looking ahead, August’s improvement in confidence may help support spending, but inflation and additional rate hikes still pose risks to economic growth in the short term.”
Among other data points:
- 19.2% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 16.3%;
- 23.2% of consumers said business conditions were “bad,” down from 24.2%;
- 48.0% of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” down from 49.2%; and
- However, 11.4% of consumers said jobs were “hard to get,” down from 12.4%.