U.S. Consumer Confidence Running Even Higher in February on Sunnier Outlook

Young supporters cheer as the US president arrives to address a "Keep America Great" rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on February 20, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Consumer confidence ticked up a few notches in February, suggesting that the economic strength of U.S. households will continue to support growth in the coming months.

The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence rose to 130.7, up from 130.4 in January.

The gain was driven by a rise in the Conference Board’s gauge of expectations for income, business, and labor market conditions. The present situation metric declined from January.

“Consumer confidence improved slightly in February, following an increase in January,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators. “Despite the decline in the Present Situation Index, consumers continue to view current conditions quite favorably. Consumers’ short-term expectations improved, and when coupled with solid employment growth, should be enough to continue to support spending and economic growth in the near term.”

At 130.7, confidence is still below the 18-year high hit in 2018. But it is high by historic measures and remains at levels unseen in this century prior to the election of Donald Trump.

The measure does not yet seem to show much of an impact from the coronavirus outbreak. But the results reflect surveys of consumers taken in the first half of February, prior to the recent sell-off in the stock market and at a time when concerns over the contagion might not have been front of mind for many Americans.


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