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Financial News: U.S. Consumer Confidence Improves More Than Expected In

U.S. Consumer Confidence Improves More Than Expected In February

02/23/2021 - 10:49:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - A report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed consumer confidence in the U.S. has improved more than expected in the month of February.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 91.3 in February from a downwardly revised 88.9 in January.

Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to inch up to 90.0 from the 89.3 originally reported for the previous month.

The bigger than expected increase by the headline index came as the present situation index climbed to 92.0 in February from 85.5 in January.

Noting the increase came after three months of consecutive declines, Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said, "This course reversal suggests economic growth has not slowed further."

The rebound by the present situation index came as the percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are "good" rose to 16.5 percent from 15.8 percent, while those claiming conditions are "bad" fell to 39.9 percent from 42.4 percent.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market also improved, with those saying jobs are "plentiful" climbing to 21.9 percent from 20.0 percent and those claiming jobs are "hard to get" dropping to 21.2 percent from 22.5 percent.

On the other hand, the Conference Board said the expectations index edged down to 90.8 in February from 91.2 in January.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell to 31.0 percent from 34.1 percent, although those expecting conditions to worsen also declined to 17.7 percent from 19.0 percent.

Consumers' outlook regarding the job market was also somewhat mixed, with those expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreasing to 26.1 percent from 30.4 percent and those anticipating fewer jobs also slipping to 20.6 percent from 22.1 percent.

"While the Expectations Index fell marginally in February, consumers remain cautiously optimistic, on the whole, about the outlook for the coming months," Franco said.

She added, "Notably, vacation intentions-particularly, plans to travel outside the U.S. and via air-saw an uptick this month, and are poised to improve further as vaccination efforts expand."

On Friday, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised reading on consumer sentiment in the month of February.

The consumer sentiment index for February is currently expected to be upwardly revised to 76.4 from the preliminary reading of 76.2, which was down from 79.0 in January.

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