The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved moderately in July, made further gains in August and now stands at 56.9 (1985=100), up from 51.9 in July, The Conference Board announced (via Retailer Daily).
The Present Situation Index decreased to 63.2 from 65.8 in July. The Expectations Index, however, increased – to 52.8 from 42.7 in July.
“Consumer confidence readings suggest that the economy remains stuck in neutral, but may be showing signs of improvement by early next year,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
“Declines in the Present Situation Index, both in terms of business conditions and the labor market, appear to be moderating. The Expectations Index, which posted a significant gain this month, suggests better times may be ahead. However, overall readings are still quite low by historical standards and it is still too early to tell if the worst is behind us.”
Additional August 2008 Consumer Confidence Index data released by The Conference Board:
- Consumers’ assessment of current conditions did not improve in August: Those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased to 33.2% from 32.6%, while those claiming business conditions are “good” edged up to 13.4% from 13.2% last month.
- Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market has turned bleaker: Those saying jobs are “hard to get” rose to 32.0% from 30.2% in July, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined to 13.1% from 13.6%.
- Consumers’ short-term expectations improved again, but still remain quite negative: Those expecting business conditions to worsen over the next six months declined to 25.8% from 32.4%, while those expecting conditions to improve rose to 11.9% from 9.2%.
- The outlook for the labor market was also less pessimistic: The proportion of consumers anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead decreased to 30.6% from 37.3%, while those expecting more jobs increased to 10.5% from 8.0%.
- The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes will increase improved slightly to 14.7% from 14.3%.
About the data: The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 US households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. The cutoff date for August’s preliminary results was August 19.