The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index soared in February to 130.8 (1985=100), up from 124.3 in January to a near 18-year high. The Present Situation Index increased from 154.7 to 162.4, while the Expectations Index improved from 104.0 last month to 109.7 this month.
“Consumer confidence improved to its highest level since 2000 (Nov. 2000, 132.6) after a modest increase in January,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more favorable this month, with the labor force the main driver. Despite the recent stock market volatility, consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term prospects for business and labor market conditions, as well as their financial prospects. Overall, consumers remain quite confident that the economy will continue expanding at a strong pace in the months ahead.”
Consumers’ views of present-day conditions also continued to improve in February and their views of business conditions moderately increased from January. The percentage saying business conditions are “good” increased marginally from 35.0% to 35.8%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 13.0% to 10.8%.
Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was significantly more favorable, as the percentage claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased from 37.2% to 39.4%. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” fell from 16.3% to 14.7%.
Consumers views on the short-term outlook are more optimistic in February, with the percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months gained from 21.5% to 25.8%. Those expecting business conditions will worsen ticked down from 9.8% to 9.4%.
Consumers’ overall outlook on the job market also improved.
The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased notably from 18.7% to 21.6%, while those anticipating fewer jobs fell marginally from 12.5% to 11.9%. When it comes to their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement also increased notably from 20.6% to 23.8%, though the proportion expecting a decrease rose slightly from 7.9% to 8.6%.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is a monthly survey based on a random sample probability-design and is conducted Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN), a global performance management company.