Consumer Confidence Remained Upbeat In February
Consumer sentiment continued to climb in February, with the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index ticking up following an increase in January. The Index now stands at 130.7, up from 130.4 in January. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.
The Conference Board reports that the Present Situation Index, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, decreased from 173.9 to 165.1 in February. However, the Expectations Index, reflecting consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, increased from 101.4 last month to 107.8 this month.
“Consumer confidence improved slightly in February, following an increase in January,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators. “Despite the decline in the Present Situation Index, consumers continue to view current conditions quite favorably. Consumers’ short-term expectations improved, and when coupled with solid employment growth, [it] should be enough to continue to support spending and economic growth in the near term.”
Consumers’ outlook on current conditions was less favorable in February. Those claiming business conditions are “good” declined from 40 percent to 38.6 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” increased from 10.4 percent to 11.9 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the job market also softened from January’s level. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 47.2 percent to 44.6 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased from 11.9 percent to 14.8 percent.
Consumers were more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 18.4 percent to 20.4 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 8.6 percent to 7.4 percent.
Consumers’ expectations for the labor market were mixed. The share anticipating more jobs declined slightly from 16.5 percent to 16.2 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead also decreased, from 12.9 percent to 11.1 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase rose from 21.6 percent to 22 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from eight percent to 6.7 percent.