United States: Consumer confidence hits six-month high in February
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 130.7 in February from a downwardly revised 130.4 in January (previously reported: 131.6) but missing market expectations of a 132.0 print. The result represented the highest level of confidence among consumers since August 2019 and remained markedly above the 100-threshold that separates optimism from pessimism.
Strong confidence in February came on the back of improving consumer sentiment regarding the short-term economic outlook. Meanwhile, households’ perspective of current conditions moderated somewhat, but remained elevated nonetheless. Consumers’ perspective on the labor market was also less upbeat, with the labor differential—the difference between the percentage of respondents who state that jobs are plentiful and those who say that jobs are hard to get—moderating to 29.8 in February from 35.3 in January.
Commenting on this month’s reading, Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, noted:
“Consumers’ short-term expectations improved, and when coupled with solid employment growth, should be enough to continue to support spending and economic growth in the near term.”