|Image from the Christian Science Monitor|
“Consumer confidence posted a modest gain in August, the result of an improvement in consumers’ short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, however, was less favorable as employment concerns continue to weigh heavily on consumers’ attitudes. Expectations about future business and labor market conditions have brightened somewhat, but overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future. All in all, consumers are about as confident today as they were a year ago (Aug. 2009, 54.5).”
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions continued to weaken in August. Those claiming business conditions are “good” decreased to 8.7 percent from 8.8 percent. However, those stating business conditions are “bad” declined to 41.9 percent from 43.3 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market deteriorated further. Those saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 45.7 percent from 45.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined to 3.8 percent from 4.4 percent.
Consumers’ expectations improved moderately in August, but overall, they remain pessimistic. Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions over the next six months increased to 17 percent from 15.8 percent, while those anticipating conditions will worsen declined to 13.4 percent from 15.3 percent.
Consumers were also slightly less pessimistic about future employment prospects. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 14.6 percent from 14.2 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 19.4 percent from 20.9 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes held steady at 10.6 percent.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS, a custom research company.