Consumer confidence rose again in September for the second consecutive month.
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index is now at 104.1, up from 101.8 in August. The two components of the index rose inched up as well. The Present Situation Index, measuring current conditions, rose to 128.5 from 125.3. The Expectations Index, measuring the outlook six-months out, rose to 87.8 from 86.1.
Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumer confidence increased in September for the second consecutive month and is now at its highest level since the recession.”
Franco said present-day conditions improved primarily because of a more positive view of the labor market. Looking out six months, Franco said consumers are more upbeat about the short-term employment outlook, but somewhat neutral regarding business conditions and income prospects.
“Overall, consumers continue to rate current conditions favorably and foresee moderate economic expansion in the months ahead,” Franco said.
In the latest survey, which had a cutoff date of Sept. 15 for preliminary results, respondents who said conditions are “good” fell to 27.4 percent from 30.3 percent. But those who said conditions are “bad” declined to 16.2 percent from 18.2 percent. The respondents’ appraisal of the labor markets were more positive, with those stating that jobs were “plentiful” increasing to 27.9 percent from 26.8 percent.
In the expectations component, consumers who said business conditions would improve over the next six months fell to 16.5 percent from 17.6 percent. Those who said conditions would worsen slipped to 10.2 percent from 11.4 percent. Their outlook on the jobs front were more upbeat, with those expecting more jobs rising to 15.1 percent from 14.4 percent, and those anticipating fewer jobs falling to 17 percent from 17.5 percent.