Consumer confidence increased in February after a decline in January. Consumers were more optimistic about both the current situation and the near term outlook.
The Consumer Confidence Index, reported by the Conference Board, increased to 114.8 in February, from 111.6 in January. Both the present situation index and the expectations index rose in February. The present situation index rose from 130 to 133.4 and the expectations index increased from 99.3 to 102.4.
Consumers’ assessments of current business conditions were mixed. The shares of respondents rating business conditions “good” decreased by 0.3 percentage point, while the share of respondents reporting business conditions “bad” declined by 2.7 percentage points from 15.9% to 13.2%.
Expectations of business conditions over the next six months improved. The share of respondents expecting future business conditions to be better increased by 1.1 percentage points from 22.9% to 24%, while the share of respondents expecting business conditions to worsen increased slightly by 0.3 percentage point from 10.8% to 11.1%.
Similar to consumers’ assessments of current business conditions, consumers’ assessments of current employment conditions were also mixed. The share of respondents reporting that jobs were “not so plentiful” increased from 51.8% to 53.5%, with the net gain coming from the net declines in assessments of “jobs hard to get” (0.8 percentage point) and “jobs plentiful” (0.9 percentage point).
Expectations of employment over the next six months were more upbeat than in January. The share of respondents expecting “more jobs” in the coming six months increased by 0.7 percentage point from 19.7% to 20.4%, while the share of respondents expecting fewer jobs decreased by 0.8 percentage point from 14.4% to 13.6%.
The Conference Board also reported the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months. The share of respondents planning to buy a home decreased from 5.7% in January to 5.6% in February. Despite the monthly volatility, the trend in the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months has been climbing up since the trough.