Consumer Confidence in U.S. Hits Nine-Year High on Job Optimism

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Consumer confidence rose in September to the highest level since before the last recession on optimism about the labor market, according to a report from the New York-based Conference Board on Tuesday.

Key Points

  • Confidence index increased to 104.1 (forecast was 99.0), the highest since August 2007, from a revised 101.8
  • Present conditions gauge rose to 128.5, also highest since August 2007, from 125.3
  • Measure of consumer expectations for the next six months climbed to 87.8, highest since October, from 86.1
  • Share of those who said jobs were plentiful rose to 27.9, highest since July 2007

Big Picture

The survey may bode well for consumer spending, which has cooled after a robust second quarter, reflecting resilient labor market conditions and steady income growth. The assessment of the availability of jobs is consistent with data showing vacancies at a record high nationwide, suggesting that wages could see further gains.

Economist Takeaways

“Consumers are more upbeat about the short-term employment outlook, but somewhat neutral about business conditions and income prospects,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “Overall, consumers continue to rate current conditions favorably and foresee moderate economic expansion in the months ahead.”

The Details

  • Consumers were more optimistic about the outlook for the labor market, as 15.1 percent said more jobs will be available in six months, the most since June 2015
  • Share of Americans who see their incomes increasing in the next six months fell to 17.1 percent from 18.5 percent
  • A 16.5 percent share of respondents said they saw an improvement in business conditions in the next six months, down from 17.6 percent
  • Buying plans wavered, however, with purchase expectations falling for autos, homes and appliances
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