U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Jumps To Nearly 18-Year High

U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Jumps To Nearly 18-Year High

A report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed an unexpected improvement in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of August.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index surged up to 133.4 in August from an upwardly revised 127.9 in July. Economists had expected the index to dip to 126.8 from the 127.4 originally reported for the previous month.

With the unexpected increase, the consumer confidence index reached its highest level since hitting 135.8 in October of 2000.

«Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term,» said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board.

Franco noted consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions continued to improve, with the present situation index jumping to 172.2 in August from 166.1 in July.

The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are «good» increased to 40.3 percent from 38.1 percent, while those saying conditions are «bad» dipped to 9.1 percent from 10.3 percent.

While the report also said consumers claiming jobs are «plentiful» was virtually unchanged at 42.7 percent, those claiming jobs are «hard to get» dropped to 12.7 percent from 14.8 percent.

«Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018,» Franco added.

The Conference Board said the expectations index rebounded to 107.6 in August after falling to 102.4 in the previous month.

Consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months rose to 24.3 percent from 22.9 percent, although those expecting business conditions will worsen also inched up to 10.5 percent from 10.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said the outlook for the labor market was mixed, with consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead slipping to 21.7 percent from 22.6 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs also edged down to 14.1 percent from 15.2 percent.

The University of Michigan is scheduled to release its final report on consumer sentiment in the month of August on Friday.

The consumer sentiment index for August is expected to be upwardly revised to 95.9 from the preliminary reading of 95.3, which was down from 97.9 in July.

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