NEW YORK – Feb. 25, 2014 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased in January, fell slightly in February. The Index now stands at 78.1, down from 79.4 last month.
The decline was driven by the Expectations Index, which gauges attitudes about the economy six months from now. That component dropped to 75.7 from 80.8. The Present Situation Index, by contrast, climbed from 77.3 to 81.7.
“While expectations have fluctuated over recent months, current conditions have continued to trend upward and the Present Situation Index is now at its highest level in almost six years (April 2008, 81.9),” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “This suggests that consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead.”
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved for the fourth consecutive month. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 21.5 percent from 20.8 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” declined to 22.6 percent from 23.4 percent.
Consumers’ current assessment of the labor market also improved. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased to 13.9 percent from 12.5 percent, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly to 32.5 percent from 32.7 percent.
Consumers’ expectations about the future, which had been improving over the past two months, retreated. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 16.3 percent from 17.0 percent, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen increased to 13.3 percent from 12.2 percent.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more pessimistic. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 13.3 percent from 15.1 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 20.6 percent from 19.0 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 16.6 percent to 15.4 percent, but those anticipating a decrease in their incomes also declined, from 13.9 percent to 13.1 percent.
Nielsen conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, for The Conference Board. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Feb. 13.
© 2014 Florida Realtors®