The Conference Board reported that consumers’ confidence grew in August for the second straight month. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 120.0 in July to 122.9 in August, its highest level since March’s 16-year high (124.9). To illustrate the jump in sentiment, the headline index has averaged 118.7 through the first eight months of 2017, up from 99.8 in 2016 as a whole. In this report, the improvement in perceptions stemmed from a better assessment of both current (up from 145.4 to 151.2) and future (up from 103.0 to 104.0) economic conditions, with the former at levels not seen since July 2001. Americans were more upbeat, largely on improvements in the labor market and in their income expectations.
Along those lines, more consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 32.5 percent to 34.5 percent, with fewer citing “bad” conditions, down from 13.5 percent to 13.1 percent. In addition, the percentage of respondents feeling that jobs were “plentiful” rose from 33.2 percent to 35.4 percent, with those saying jobs were “hard to get” dropping from 18.7 percent to 17.3 percent. Similarly, the percentage expecting their incomes to increase ticked up from 20.0 percent to 20.9 percent, with those feeling that their incomes would fall in the coming months declining from 9.5 percent to 7.8 percent.