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Feb. Consumer Confidence Moves Slightly Higher Again

While Americans feel a bit less optimistic about current conditions, they’re anticipating an improving, strong economy over the next six months.

NEW YORK – After an increase in January, consumer confidence improved a little bit more in February.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 130.7 (1985=100), up from 130.4 in January. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased from 173.9 to 165.1. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 101.4 to 107.8 this month.

“Despite the decline in the Present Situation Index, consumers continue to view current conditions quite favorably,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators.  “Consumers’ short-term expectations improved and, when coupled with solid employment growth, should be enough to continue to support spending and economic growth in the near term.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was less favorable in February. Those claiming business conditions are “good” declined from 40.0% to 38.6%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased from 10.4% to 11.9%.

Consumers’ assessment of the job market also moderated from last month. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 47.2% to 44.6%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased from 11.9% to 14.8%.

Consumers were more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 18.4% to 20.4%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined, from 8.6% to 7.4%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs declined slightly from 16.5% to 16.2%, but those anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead also decreased, from 12.9% to 11.1%. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase rose from 21.6% to 22.0%, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 8.0% to 6.7%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was February 13.

©Florida Realtors® 
Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.

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Allen Thompson

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