Consumer confidence climbs in February

Consumer confidence rose 9.3 points in February, following a 3.7 point drop in January, to levels last seen a year ago, according to the latest figures from The Conference Board.

“Consumer Confidence, which had declined last month, posted a sizable improvement in February. The Index is now close to levels last seen a year ago (Feb. 2011, 72.0.),” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a release.

“Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions than they were in January,” she added. “And, despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects, and their financial situation.”

Following two months of improvement in December and November, several market indicators, including consumer confidence, present situation and expectations indices fell, with consumer confidence dropping to 61.1 in the month ending on Jan. 15.

However, consumers showed less negativity toward business conditions and jobs in February. Respondents who claimed that business conditions were “good” rose 0.1 percentage points to 13.3 percent, and those who claimed business conditions were “bad” decreased 7.1 percent to 31.2 for the month ending on Feb. 15.

Consumers who said that jobs were “plentiful” increased 0.4 percentage points to 6.6 percent and those who claimed that jobs were “hard to get” decreased 4.6 percentage points to 38.7 percent of survey respondents.

The outlook on business conditions and the labor market was also more optimistic, with the percentage of those expecting business conditions to worsen falling 2.8 percentage points to 11.8 percent and those anticipating business conditions to improve over the next six months rose 2.0 percentage points to 18.7 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Feb. 15.

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