Consumer Confidence Jumps 9 Points
Consumer confidence started its climb out of the depths reached during the last recession as employers step up hiring and stocks rally, signaling Americans may be poised to increase spending.
The Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index Tuesday for this month showing a significant jump from January. The Index now stands at 70.8, up from 61.5 in January. The Present Situation Index increased to 45.0 from 38.8, and the Expectations Index rose to 88.0 from 76.7 in January.
“Consumer confidence, which had declined last month, posted a sizeable improvement in February,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The Index is now close to levels last seen a year ago (Feb. 2011, 72.0). Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions than they were in January. And, despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects, and their financial situation.”
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more favorable in February. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased slightly to 13.3 percent from 13.2 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased to 31.2 percent from 38.3 percent.