The consumer confidence index increased to 130.8 in February from a revised 124.3 last month, The Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The December index was originally reported as 125.4.

consumer confidence

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted a 126.3 reading for the index.

The present situation index rose to 162.4 from a revised 154.7, first reported as 155.3, while the expectations index grew to 109.7 from a revised 104.0, first reported as 105.5.

“Consumer confidence improved to its highest level since 2000 (Nov. 2000, 132.6) after a modest increase in January,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more favorable this month, with the labor force the main driver. Despite the recent stock market volatility, consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term prospects for business and labor market conditions, as well as their financial prospects. Overall, consumers remain quite confident that the economy will continue expanding at a strong pace in the months ahead.”

Business conditions were called “good” by 35.8% of respondents in February, up from 35.0% of respondents in January. Those saying conditions are “bad” fell to 10.8% from 13.0%.

The percentage of consumers expecting a pickup in business conditions in the next half year gained to 25.8% from 21.5%, while 9.4% said they expect conditions to worsen, down from 9.8% in the prior month.

On the jobs front, those who believe jobs are “plentiful” increased to 39.4% from 37.2% in last month, while the number saying jobs are “hard to get” slid to 14.7% from 16.3%. The respondents who see fewer jobs becoming available in a half year, decreased to 11.9% from 12.5%. Those expecting more jobs to become available increased to 21.6% from 18.7%, The Conference Board reported.

The consumer confidence survey is based on a probability design random sample by the Nielsen Company.

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Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel has been at The Bond Buyer since 1989, currently covering economic indicators and the Federal Reserve system.