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Consumer confidence reaches 15-year high in February


The Conference Board announced a new high for consumer confidence in February, which reached its highest level since July 2001.

The index now stands at 114.8, up from 111.6 in January.

“Consumer confidence increased in February and remains at a 15-year high (July 2001, 116.3),” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers rated current business and labor market conditions more favorably this month than in January. Expectations improved regarding the short-term outlook for business, and to a lesser degree jobs and income prospects. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead.”

The Present Situation Index rose from 130.0 to 133.4, though the amount of respondents saying business conditions are “good” declined slightly from 29.0% to 28.7%. Those saying business conditions are “bad” also decreased, from 15.9% to 13.2%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also mixed. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” declined from 27.1% to 26.2%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also decreased, from 21.1% to 20.3%.

The Expectations Index increased from 99.3 to 102.4. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 22.9% to 24.0%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen also rose slightly from 10.8% to 11.1%. For the labor market, the proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 19.7% to 20.4%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 14.4% to 13.6%. The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase rose marginally from 18.1% to 18.3%, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 9.4% to 8.2%.
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