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Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Rose to a Five-Month High in August

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The Conference Board reported that consumers’ confidence grew in August for the second straight month. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 120.0 in July to 122.9 in August, its highest level since March’s 16-year high (124.9). To illustrate the jump in sentiment, the headline index has averaged 118.7 through the first eight months of 2017, up from 99.8 in 2016 as a whole. In this report, the improvement in perceptions stemmed from a better assessment of both current (up from 145.4 to 151.2) and future (up from 103.0 to 104.0) economic conditions, with the former at levels not seen since July 2001. Americans were more upbeat, largely on improvements in the labor market and in their income expectations.

Along those lines, more consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 32.5 percent to 34.5 percent, with fewer citing “bad” conditions, down from 13.5 percent to 13.1 percent. In addition, the percentage of respondents feeling that jobs were “plentiful” rose from 33.2 percent to 35.4 percent, with those saying jobs were “hard to get” dropping from 18.7 percent to 17.3 percent. Similarly, the percentage expecting their incomes to increase ticked up from 20.0 percent to 20.9 percent, with those feeling that their incomes would fall in the coming months declining from 9.5 percent to 7.8 percent.

Conference Board: Consumer Assessments of Current Economic Conditions at a 16-Year High

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The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded in July after a springtime lull. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 117.3 in June to 121.1 in July, which was not far from March’s 16-year high (124.9). To illustrate the jump in sentiment, the headline index has averaged 118.3 year-to-date in 2017, up from an average of 95.6 in the same seven-month time period in 2016. In this report, the improvement in perceptions stemmed from a better assessments of both current (up from 143.9 to 147.8) and future (up from 99.6 to 103.3) conditions. The measure for the current economic environment rose to a level not seen since July 2001. Overall, more consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 30.6 percent to 33.3 percent, with 13.5 percent citing “bad” conditions, which was unchanged. Read More

Conference Board: Consumers Were More Confident in June

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The Conference Board reported that consumers were more confident in June after their sentiment fell back a little in April and May from March’s 16-year high (124.9). The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 117.6 in May to 118.9 in June. To illustrate the jump in sentiment, the headline index has averaged 118.1 in the first half of 2017, up from 95.4 and 104.3 in the first and second halves of 2016, respectively. In this report, the improvement in perceptions stemmed from a better assessment of current conditions (up from 140.6 to 146.3), but the measure for future conditions slipped for the third straight month (down from 102.3 to 100.6). Overall, more consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 29.8 percent to 30.8 percent, with fewer citing “bad” conditions, down from 13.9 percent to 12.7 percent.  Read More

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since December 2000

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The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence rose again, with sentiment now at its highest level since December 2000. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 116.1 in February to 125.6 in March. This continued to represent a mostly positive assessment of the economy relative to perceptions just a few months ago. For instance, the index stood at 96.7 as recently as July 2016. Better perceptions about both current (up from 134.4 to 143.1) and future (up from 103.9 to 113.8) conditions in March boosted the headline index. The acceleration in confidence in this report came from a pickup in those respondents saying business conditions were “good,” up from 28.3 percent to 32.2 percent. There was also a slight easing in those suggesting conditions were “bad,” down from 13.4 percent to 12.9 percent. As such, Americans were mostly upbeat in their outlook.

Along those lines, the percentage of respondents expecting their incomes to increase edged up from 19.2 percent to 21.5 percent, with the percentage feeling their incomes would fall in the months ahead dropping from 8.1 percent to 7.0 percent. This view extended to the labor market. In this release, those expecting more jobs moving forward rose from 20.9 percent to 24.8 percent, whereas those feeling there would be less jobs dropped from 13.6 percent to 12.2 percent.

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since July 2001

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The Conference Board said that consumer confidence rose again, with sentiment now at its highest level since July 2001. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 111.6 in January to 114.8 in February. This continued to represent a mostly positive assessment of the economy relative to perceptions just a few months ago. For instance, the index stood at 96.7 as recently as July 2016. Better perceptions about both current (up from 130.0 to 133.4) and future (up from 99.3 to 102.4) conditions in February boosted the headline index. The acceleration in confidence in this report came from a lessoning in those respondents saying that business conditions were “bad,” down from 15.9 percent to 13.2 percent. Those suggesting conditions were “good” eased slightly, down from 29.0 to 28.7. Nonetheless, Americans were mostly upbeat in their outlook.

Along those lines, the percentage of those completing the survey expecting their incomes to increase edged up from 18.1 percent to 18.3 percent, with the percentage feeling that their incomes would fall in the months ahead dropping from 9.4 percent to 8.2 percent. This view extended to the labor market. In this release, the percent feeling that jobs were “hard to get” declined from 21.1 percent to 20.3 percent. Yet, the data also expressed some lingering anxieties, with the percentage saying that jobs were “plentiful” also pulling back somewhat, down from 27.1 percent to 26.2 percent.

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Pulled Back a Little but Remained Elevated

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Consumer confidence pulled back a little in January after soaring to a 15-year high in December in the aftermath of the election, but it remained elevated. The Consumer Confidence Index declined from 113.3 in December, its highest level since August 2001, to 111.8 in January. This continued to represent a mostly positive assessment of the economy relative to perceptions just a few months ago. For instance, the index stood at 96.7 just six months ago. Americans’ view of current conditions (up from 123.5 to 129.7) improved in January. Whereas, the easing in the headline number mirrored somewhat reduced opinions about the future (down from 106.4 to 99.8). Note that the future expectations measure has also trended higher despite slipping in January, as it was 82.0 just six months ago. Read More

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Rose to Its Highest Level Since July 2007

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Consumer confidence soared in November to its highest level since July 2007, according to the Conference Board, bouncing back from a pre-election lull in the October report. The Consumer Confidence Index jumped from 100.8 in October to 107.1 in November. This mirrored a similar post-election rise in sentiment seen in the competing survey from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. More importantly, it represented a significant improvement in Americans’ assessments of the economy since May’s dismal 92.4 reading. The underlying data noted progress in the public’s perceptions about both current (up from 123.1 to 130.1) and future (up from 86.0 to 91.7) conditions. The measure for the present economic environment was also its loftiest level since July 2007, with the expectations index reaching a 17-year high. As noted in the press release, this report should serve as good news for retailers – and by extension, manufacturers – for the holidays. Read More

University of Michigan: Political Uncertainty Pushed Confidence Lower in October

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The two measures of consumer confidence have diverged recently. The Conference Board’s survey jumped strongly in September, rising to its highest level in nearly eight years. Meanwhile, the competing survey from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, out today, fell from 91.2 in September to 87.9 in October, its lowest level in 12 months. As noted by Richard Curtin, the survey’s Chief Economist, “The early October loss was concentrated among households with incomes below $75,000, whose Index fell to its lowest level since August of 2014. In contrast, confidence among upper income households remained unchanged in early October from last month….” He submits that political uncertainties surrounding the upcoming election have diminished sentiment in October. Read More

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Jumped Strongly in September to a Nine-Year High

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The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped strongly in September. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 101.8 in August to 104.1 in September, its highest level since August 2007. This represented a significant improvement in Americans’ assessments of the economy since May’s dismal 92.4 reading. The strong gains in the headline number were buoyed by better perceptions about current (up from 125.3 to 128.5) and future (up from 86.1 to 87.8) conditions. With that said, this measure has been extremely volatile over the past two years, with the current reading surpassing the prior post-recession high of 103.8 in January 2015. That peak was soon followed by lingering doubts about economic growth, and this survey still reflects some of those persistent anxieties despite notable improvements. Read More

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Rebounded in June

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The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded in June after falling to a six-month low in May. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 92.4 in May to 98.0 in June, its highest level since September’s 102.6 reading. Americans more upbeat in their assessments of the current (up from 113.2 to 118.3) and future (up from 78.5 to 84.5) economic environment. As such, this stands in contrast to a competing survey from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, which found that consumer sentiment pulled back in June and lingering economic anxieties. Comparatively, Americans were more optimistic in their outlook in the Conference Board report, with the percent expecting better business conditions in the next six months rising from 15.0 percent to 16.8 percent.   Read More