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US Consumer Confidence Hit a High in August

Americans were optimistic in August, according to the consumer confidence index released Tuesday by the Conference Board.

The monthly survey, conducted by Nielsen, found that consumer confidence in the U.S. this month stands at 101.1, up from 96.7 in July and the highest level in nearly a year.

“Consumers’ assessment of both current business and labor market conditions was considerably more favorable than last month,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “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.”

Consumers stating business conditions are “good” increased from 27.3% to 30 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” remained unchanged at 18.4%. In addition, those claiming jobs were more “plentiful” increased from 23 percent to 26 percent, however, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 22.1% to 23.4%.

People feel positive about the short-term, too. Consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 15.7% to 17.3%, while those expecting business conditions to deteriorate decreased from 12.4% to 11.1%.

Plus, the proportion of people expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose from 13.5% to 14.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs remained at 17.5%. Consumers are also expecting better paychecks—the percentage expecting their incomes to increase improved from 17.1% to 18.8%, while those expecting a cut decreased from 11 percent to 10.7%.

The Conference Board’s survey differs from the previously released index from the University of Michigan, which fell to 89.8 in August from 90 in July.

Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist, said, “Less favorable personal financial prospects were largely offset by a slight improvement in the outlook for the overall economy. Most of the weakness in personal finances was among younger households who cited higher expenses than anticipated as well as slightly smaller expected income gains.”