U.S. consumer confidence is at an 18-year high.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 130.8 (1985=100), up from 124.3 in January. The Present Situation Index increased from 154.7 to 162.4. At the same time, the Expectations Index improved from 104.0 last month to 109.7 this month.
The monthly U.S. Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a probability-design random sample. It is conducted by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics.
Consumer confidence at highest since 2000
Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, says, “Consumer confidence improved to its highest level since 2000 (November 2000, 132.6) after a modest increase in January.
“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’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in February. Consumers’ assessment of business conditions was moderately more positive than in January.
The percentage saying business conditions are “good” rose slightly from 35% to 35.8%. Meanwhile, those saying business conditions are “bad” fell from 13% to 10.8%.
Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was considerably more favorable. Those who claim that jobs are “plentiful” rose from 37.2% to 39.4%. Meanwhile, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 16.3% to 14.7%.
Consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook in February. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 21.5% to 25.8%, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 9.8% to 9.4%.
Consumers’ outlook for the job market was also more positive. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.7% to 21.6%. Those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 12.5% to 11.9%.
Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement increased from 20.6% to 23.8%, however, the proportion expecting a decrease also rose, from 7.9% to 8.6%.
The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest.