The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped strongly in September. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 101.8 in August to 104.1 in September, its highest level since August 2007. This represented a significant improvement in Americans’ assessments of the economy since May’s dismal 92.4 reading. The strong gains in the headline number were buoyed by better perceptions about current (up from 125.3 to 128.5) and future (up from 86.1 to 87.8) conditions. With that said, this measure has been extremely volatile over the past two years, with the current reading surpassing the prior post-recession high of 103.8 in January 2015. That peak was soon followed by lingering doubts about economic growth, and this survey still reflects some of those persistent anxieties despite notable improvements. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded in June after falling to a six-month low in May. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 92.4 in May to 98.0 in June, its highest level since September’s 102.6 reading. Americans more upbeat in their assessments of the current (up from 113.2 to 118.3) and future (up from 78.5 to 84.5) economic environment. As such, this stands in contrast to a competing survey from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, which found that consumer sentiment pulled back in June and lingering economic anxieties. Comparatively, Americans were more optimistic in their outlook in the Conference Board report, with the percent expecting better business conditions in the next six months rising from 15.0 percent to 16.8 percent. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment waned again in February, with Americans nervous in their economic outlook. The Consumer Confidence Index dropped from 97.8 in January to 92.2 in February, its lowest level in seven months. Since June of last year, these data have been highly volatile, ranging from a low of 91.0 in July to 102.6 in September, with the latter being the second-highest reading since the recession. (The index peaked at a post-recessionary high of 103.8 in January 2015.) The high degree of change from month-to-month indicates just how anxious the public is right now, with recent financial market volatility likely dampening perceptions in this report. In February, consumers were less upbeat in their assessments of the current (down from 85.3 to 78.9) and future (down from 116.6 to 112.1) economy.
Respondents to this survey are often swayed by pocketbook issues, including worries about labor market prospects, and this release is no different. The percentage of those completing the survey suggesting that jobs were “plentiful” declined from 23.0 percent to 22.1 percent, with those saying that jobs were “hard to get” rising from 23.6 percent to 24.2 percent. In a similar fashion, the percent expecting their incomes to increase in the coming months decreased from 18.6 percent to 17.2 percent, with those predicting declining incomes increasing from 10.7 percent to 12.5 percent.
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level of the year in November. The Consumer Confidence Index declined from a revised 99.1 in October to 90.4 in November, the weakest reading since September 2014. As such, consumer attitudes have downshifted dramatically over the past two months, down from 102.6 in September, which had been the second-highest level of the year. Indeed, consumer confidence has been highly volatile in 2015, but with perceptions generally lower since reaching a post-recessionary high in January (103.8). Much of that weakness has stemmed from worries about the economic outlook, but it is also possible that geopolitical events could be taking a toll on confidence, particularly in this latest survey. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded to its highest level since January. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 101.3 in August to 103.0 in September, just shy of the 103.8 reading that was notching at the beginning of the year. The January figure had been the strongest figure since August 2007, suggesting that consumers are near a pre-recessionary high in terms of current confidence levels. With that said, Americans’ attitudes about the economy have been highly volatile so far this year, ranging from a low of 91.0 in July to its January peak. Much of the weakness that we have seen year-to-date has stemmed from worries about labor and income growth. This is true despite progress over the longer term, with the index up from 80.2 in September 2013 and 89.0 in September 2014. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped strongly in August, rebounding from the sharp decline seen in July. The Consumer Confidence Index, which unexpectedly fell significantly from 99.8 in June to 91.0 in July, recovered in August, rising to 101.5. This was the second-highest level since August 2007 – second only to January’s 103.8 reading. The improvement in this report stemmed largely from the public’s better assessment of the labor market. For instance, 21.9 percent of respondents said that jobs were plentiful, up from 19.9 percent the month before. More importantly, the percent noting that jobs were “hard to get” fell from 27.4 percent to 21.9 percent. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped higher in June. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 94.6 in May to 101.4 in June, matching its level of March and coming after two months of softness in the data. Sentiment continues to remain below the post-recessionary peak observed in January (103.8), but overall, this report suggests that Americans’ attitudes have rebounded from weaknesses earlier in the year. In addition, confidence has risen from one year ago when the index was 86.4. Despite these improvements, the public continues to remain somewhat anxious about labor and income growth. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded a little in May. The Consumer Confidence Index has been quite volatile over the past six months, ranging from a low of 91.0 in November to a high of 103.8 in January (a post-recessionary peak). Confidence plummeted to 94.3 in April, but it edged somewhat higher to 95.4 in May. On the positive side, Americans are more confident today than they were one year ago (when the index was 82.2), and they were slightly more upbeat for the month. Yet, these data indicate that the public remains anxious about employment and income growth, mirroring softer-than-desired economic data in the early months of this year. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment pulled back again in April. The Consumer Confidence Index has been quite volatile over the past few months. After jumping from 93.1 in December to 103.8 in January (its highest level since August 2007), it has measured 98.8, 101.4 and 95.2 in February, March and April, respectively. Despite the back-and-forth swings each month, the index measuring current conditions has edged lower for three consecutive months, down from 113.9 in January to 106.8 in April. This figure continues to reflect progress in overall attitudes over the longer-term, and yet, it mirrors recent softness in a number of economic data points. Read More
The Conference Board said that the Leading Economic Index (LEI) rose 0.2 percent in February, the same pace as observed in January. However, this was slower than the stronger rate of growth experienced just four months ago, when the LEI increased by 0.6 percent in October. Weaknesses abroad, a stronger U.S. dollar, weather and factors have been headwinds on the U.S. economy, which continues to expand modestly but at a slower rate. This can be seen in the latest industrial production, housing starts and retail sales figures, for instance. Specific to the LEI, new orders have decelerated, providing a bit of a drag on the headline number. Other challenges included the average workweek and initial unemployment claims. Read More