The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose 5.6 points this month to 70.4, up from 64.8 in January.
The Present Situation Index also improved modestly, by 2.3 points, to 33.4, up from 31.1. And The Expectations Index gained 7.8 points to reach 95.1, up from 87.3.
“The Consumer Confidence Index is now at a three-year high due to growing optimism about the short-term future,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately but still remains rather weak. Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions.”
Consumers also became a bit more positive about present-day conditions in February, with 12.4% saying business conditions are “good,” up from 11.3% the month prior. However, the percentage of those describing business conditions as “bad” remained unchanged at 39.6%.
Surprisingly, consumers’ assessment of the labor market improved slightly in February, with 4.9% saying that jobs are “plentiful,” up from 4.6%, and 45.7% believing that jobs are “hard to get,” down from 47.0%.
Their outlook for business conditions over the next six months also improved slightly, with 24.4% expecting improvement, up from 24.0%, while those expecting business conditions will worsen fell to 10.4% from 12.2%.