Consumers' assessment of both current business and labor market conditions was considerably more favorable

Shoppers in mall consumer confidence
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September 06, 2016

Following a slight decrease in July, U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in a big way in August. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 101.1—the highest level reached thus far in 2016.

The Conference Board reports that consumers' appraisal of current conditions improved notably in August. Those stating that business conditions are "good" increased from 27.3 percent to 30.0 percent, while those saying that business conditions are "bad" remained virtually unchanged at 18.4 percent. Consumers' assessment of the labor market was also more favorable. Those claiming that jobs were more "plentiful" increased from 23.0 percent to 26.0 percent, however, those claiming that jobs are "hard to get" also rose, from 22.1 percent to 23.4 percent.

Consumers' optimism regarding the short-term outlook picked up in August, as well. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 15.7 percent to 17.3 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 12.4 percent to 11.1 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also more favorable. The proportion of those expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose from 13.5 percent to 14.2 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs remained virtually unchanged at 17.5 percent. The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase improved from 17.1 percent to 18.8 percent, while the proportion expecting a decline decreased marginally from 11.0 percent to 10.7 percent.

"Consumer confidence improved in August to its highest level in nearly a year, after a marginal decline in July," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers' assessment of both current business and labor market conditions was considerably more favorable than last month. Short-term expectations regarding business and employment conditions, as well as personal income prospects, also improved, suggesting the possibility of a moderate pick-up in growth in the coming months."

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.

References: The Conference Board