Consumer Confidence Soars to Highest Level Since 2000

The Associated Press
JOHN CARNEY

American consumer confidence soared in February, hitting the highest level since 2000.

The Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence rose to 130.8, up from 124.3 in January. Consumers seem to have not been bothered by stock market volatility that rose in mid-February.

Consumers grew more positive both about their present situation and about their expectations for the future. The Conference Board’s Present Situation Index increased from 154.7 to 162.4, while the Expectations Index improved from 104.0 last month to 109.7 this month.

This is the index’s highest reading since November 2000, when confidence peaked at 132.60. Economists had expected a much more modest rise.

“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,” said Lynn Franco,  The Conference Board’s director of economic indicators.

 

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market is now very favorable. Consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 37.2 percent to 39.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 16.3 percent to 14.7 percent.

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