The consumer confidence index increased to 81.5 in August from a revised 81.0 last month, The Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The July index was originally reported as 80.3.

The present situation index slid to 70.7 from an unrevised 73.6, while the expectations index rose to 88.7 from a revised 86.0, first reported as 84.7.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 79.0 reading for the index.

"Consumer Confidence increased slightly in August, a result of improving short-term expectations. Consumers were moderately more upbeat about business, job and earning prospects," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "In fact, income expectations, which had declined sharply earlier this year with the payroll tax hike, have rebounded to their highest level in two and a half years. Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions, on the other hand, was somewhat less favorable than last month."

Business conditions were called "good" by 18.4% of respondents in August, down from 20.8% in July. Those saying conditions are "bad" slid to 24.8% from 24.9%.

The percentage of consumers expecting a pickup in business conditions in the next half year grew to 20.1% from 19.9%, while 11.1% said they expect conditions to worsen, off from 11.3% in the prior month.

On the jobs front, those who believe jobs are "plentiful" slipped to 11.4% in August from 12.3% in July, while the number saying jobs are "hard to get" slid to 33.0% from 35.2%. The respondents who see fewer jobs becoming available in a half year, decreased to 17.3% from 17.7%. Those expecting more jobs to become available rose to 17.6% from 16.7%, The Conference Board reported.

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