Survey: U.S. Consumers More Confident in August

    The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in August, following three consecutive monthly declines. The Index now stands at 103.2 (1985=100), up from 95.3 in July. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—improved to 145.4 from 139.7 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—increased to 75.1 from 65.6.

    “Consumer confidence increased in August after falling for three straight months,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index recorded a gain for the first time since March. The Expectations Index likewise improved from July’s 9-year low, but remains below a reading of 80, suggesting recession risks continue. Concerns about inflation continued their retreat but remained elevated.”

    “Meanwhile, purchasing intentions increased after a July pullback, and vacation intentions reached an 8-month high. Looking ahead, August’s improvement in confidence may help support spending, but inflation and additional rate hikes still pose risks to economic growth in the short term.”

    Present Situation

    Consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions was more favorable in August.

    • 19.2% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 16.3%.
    • 23.2% of consumers said business conditions were “bad,” down from 24.2%.

    Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was mixed.

    • 48.0% of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” down from 49.2%.
    • However, 11.4% of consumers said jobs were “hard to get,” down from 12.4%.

    Expectations Six Months Hence

    Consumers were more positive about the short-term business conditions outlook in August.

    • 17.5% of consumers expect business conditions will improve, up from 13.7%.
    • 22.3% expect business conditions to worsen, down from 26.2%.

    Consumers were more optimistic about the short-term labor market outlook.

    • 17.4% of consumers expect more jobs to be available, up from 15.1%.
    • 19.3% anticipate fewer jobs, down from 21.1%.

    Consumers were more positive about their short-term financial prospects.

    • 15.8% of consumers expect their incomes to increase, up from 15.3%.
    • 14.5% expect their incomes will decrease, down from 15.5%.

    The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on an online sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Toluna, a technology company that delivers real-time consumer insights and market research through its innovative technology, expertise, and panel of over 36 million consumers. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 23.